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Blogs



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Check Your Connection (Yet Another Kingdom Hearts Post)


It’s common knowledge that Kingdom Hearts keeps using “new” characters that turn out to be new iterations of old characters, best summed up by that classic graphic explaining the series: “Everyone is Xehanort. Everyone else is Sora.” There’s even a point in the series where Xemnas (a Xehanort) taunts Sora (a Sora) about how all these other people made Sora who he is and asking if he is really his own person. Sora brushes it off, and I was wondering if maybe that line/idea could come back later, with Sora turning it around against Xehanort, and as I was wondering how that might or might not work I finally realized an important difference between the two.

The core of Sora’s situation is succinctly described when he decides to leave Destiny Islands again to kick off the plot of KH3D, saying, “I am who I am because of them.” Sora takes in a little piece of everyone he meets and grows because of that—he is influenced by so many other people and would not be the Sora we know if none of those people existed. Then we have Xehanort, who from the very first game has always been focused on finding new people to possess, finding others who he can turn into new Xehanorts. His reasons for this and how these plans have expanded can only be related through recent spoilers, so I’m going to skip over that for now and try to condense the point.

Sora allows himself to be changed by others. Xehanort changes others into him.

And I feel like this could be an allegory telling us that we shouldn’t force our own views on other people, coercing them into being more like us. Instead, we should take in what others have to offer, let them influence us, and grow as a person because of that interaction. I’ve seen people interpret Aqua’s storyline from Birth by Sleep as having a similar message to this, so it might not be coincidental that she ends up being doing better against Xehanort than Ven and Terra: both arcs might be saying that only someone who understands the benefits of having an open, receptive heart can stop someone with an open heart that aggressively seeks its way into others.

We’ll have to wait to see where Aqua’s character goes, but Sora has already accepted his connectedness and embraces it without hesitation. The scene I’m thinking of is near the end of KH3D so I don’t want to give too much away, but of the two Xehanorts who hear his declaration, one is baffled and a little frustrated, and the other seems unaffected and silently activates Final Boss Mode. The idea that these connections can be beneficial is completely lost on Xehanort, and I’m going to go ahead and predict that that is why he can never win. (You know, in the end. He’s definitely doing pretty well now.) Maybe it’s cliché and cheesy and whatever, but if a villain cannot comprehend a hero’s power, then there’s a pretty good chance that power is going to be their undoing; said power being some variant of “the power of friendship” certainly doesn’t hurt either. But, that’s a whole thing in and of itself.

My point is that I never fully grasped how Sora and Xehanort were being set up as opposites, and that the often-noted similarity does have a little more depth than is immediately apparent. And I thought that was kind of cool.

(Though I guess this doesn’t really account for those characters who were spawned from Sora? I mean he still encourages them to be their own person, but I don’t know?)

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An Evening with Neil Gaiman

Posted by ChocolateFrogs in Scientific Progress Goes "Boink", May 02 2015 · 19 views
books, neil gaiman

On Friday, May 1, I had the fortunate pleasure of seeing and hearing Neil Gaiman, my favorite author, speak in DC. It was a fantastic evening, shared with Toa Lhikan Hordika, who has also been a fan and is slowly being inducted into more of his works as well.

The format was different than what I've experienced before with author talks. This time around, people could write questions down on a note card before the show. So he comes on stage, giving his usual "Hullo" we all know, holding a stack of maybe 300 note cards. The entire night is just him picking a card and answering it, going off on minor tangents when it suited him and digging deep into his personal experiences to share his world with ours. In that way it felt like we were having a conversation with him, or a very informal interview, in which he's simply talking to us, for us, about pretty much anything.

He even answered my question! I asked what I can say, as a bookseller, to parents that are set on not letting their kids read new and genre-filled books since they're forcing their kids to read arguably boring and uninteresting books (depending on the reader)? His answer ("Ah, parents," he says, and the audience laughs) was to handsell books with a passion so that maybe they'd allow something new to be tried. A good answer, of course.

He had various touching moments, from recounting how many women said Coraline inspired them as young girls to be brave, to speaking briefly about Terry Pratchett and writing Good Omens together. He had advice about writing and living a good life. He spoke of adventures he had even when he didn't realize they were adventures. He made us laugh, fall silent, and take in his every word in only the way his voice can as he pauses every now and then as if choosing his next word to make sure it is perfect.

He also read a few short stories from his new book, the anthology Trigger Warning, and a few pages from Good Omens and then told us which part Pratchett had contributed to. I was especially happy because he read the October Tale from A Calendar of Tales, which is my favorite. It is about a genie who appears for someone who does not want or need anything obtained through a wish, and is happy with their simply life and starts to befriend the perplexed djinn. (The whole Calendar can be read for free online.)

It was unlike anything I've experienced, and even if I see Gaiman speak again it will no be anything like that night. It was an evening filled with humorous, heartfelt, and truthful insight into his life and his books. What a fantastic way to start the month.
-CF :kakama:
(PS, I recommend his books American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and his comic series The Sandman, for anyone interested in a starting point for his works. And then I recommend everything!)

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A GOOD DAY FOR COLLECTIONS?!

Posted by Lucina in If Infinite, May 02 2015 · 85 views

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So I pre-ordered the Lucina figma figure last night, and it should be shipping in June. :)
(thanks to toad for showing me the site i guess)

I also purchased the amiibo figures for both Lucina and Robin from a Japanese site a few days ago, but did not think it was successful, as they had not shipped and the money had not been taken.

I received the email confirmation that they were being shipped today, and I can even track them! I am dubious as to whether they will actually arrive undamaged (I mean, plastic figures in flimsy cardboard from Japan. High hopes not realistic), but even if the boxes are somewhat damaged, I will be happy to just have them.

A good day indeed. Now I must wait for the disappointment to return.

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Age of..

Posted by Ryuujin in from the edge of the forest, towards the deep green sea, May 02 2015 · 81 views

..Adaline looks like a terrible film. sad to see Harrison Ford waste his talent like that.

this was just something I observed when I saw its poster while at the cinema to see a far less popular film that I'm sure nobody here has seen nor cares about, Avengers: Age of Ultron. great film. liked it better than the previous Avengers movie, although both certainly fall short of the first one.

interestingly, it would seem that Ultron has decided to take a different route in his plan to fight humanity, as he parked a (presumably stolen) S.H.I.E.L.D. truck in front of the cinema and started making rude hand gestures at people. Iron Man was there too, but I guess he didn't see a problem with this because he mostly just stood around in the lobby and did absolutely nothing.


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Appleloosa's Most Wanted

Posted by Bambi in The Small Horse, May 02 2015 · 23 views
ponies

Well, it's been a while since we visited Appleloosa. I just hope they don't screw it up too badly. Though honestly, this is the first time I've actually been interested in seeing a new episode since.. Sometime around season three. So uh, anyway, onward!

I spy Braeburn

Wonder if there's going to be any AAAAPPELOOOSA

She's not the only one doing it, lol

Heh

Sabotage

This doesn't look like the Appleloosa we saw in season one

Wonder if we'll see those buffaloes?

I don't know why, but Braeburn seems like he would fit in the Borderlands world

WET MANES

"I've never even heard of a pony zip lining before"

His cutiemark is a horseshoe.. Doesn't that mean good luck or something?

Oh, an upside down horseshoe

He looks like a poorly created OC made with that ponymaker on dA

There's gonna be a jailbreak

I've never seen what's so funny about clowns

Okay, I totally missed the lesson/moral of this story. Maybe because I've been up since 5 AM and I'm tired, I dunno. Episode wasn't as good as I hoped, as expected. I enjoyed it more than last week's though, so I guess it gets maybe a 5.3

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Vegans: Egg of Udon

Posted by Pomegranate in Hundreds of Crimson Seeds, May 02 2015 · 42 views

I can't believe this movie was two and a half hours long, 'cause it flew right by. Incredible. I love it. I'm just in awe. Gotta see it again just to really absorb everything cause there was so much going on.

I love all the tracking shots. They must have really enjoyed the big New York City tracking shot from the first movie that was so famous, 'cause there's like at least three more in this one and they're all even more ambitious. I desperately need to see those shots again. Just gorgeous.

I loved the Maximoff twins, they're really great characters. I loved that Wakanda featured, love me some Black Panther. Vision was perfect. The scene of Ultron's birth/awakening was incredibly chilling, creeped me out. Natasha and Barton were outstanding. Kinda wish they explored the visions/dreams everyone had a bit more, 'cause there was some really interesting stuff going on (especially Tony's) that I totally get and could extrapolate meaning from (definitely setups for Infinity War) but I knew that anyone who's not an enthusiast would be really kinda lost and felt let down by those crypitc hints being ignored as much as they were. Thor's especially, even I still don't know what was going on there, in terms of his reaction afterwards. Like I said, gotta watch it again to pick up on anything I missed and really enjoy everything properly.

What a thrill ride. Amazing. I don't know how any of us can go watch Ant-Man after this. Everything until Avengers 3 is gonna be a letdown.

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Free Comic Book Day

Posted by Nigel Thornberry in Nigel Thornberry's Hat World ♫♪, May 02 2015 · 51 views

So, a friend and I tried our luck at a few stores today. We didn't manage to get the Bob's Burgers comic that was out, but I did manage to find an Avatar The Last Airbender story featuring Ty Lee and Toph. And, like, I didn't know those two would get along that well.

All in all, a fun afternoon.

Now then, there are adult things I should attend to. Freelancer powers, activate! Away! Wooosh!

~Nigel


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Masculinity in Age of Ultron

Posted by Ta-metru_defender in TMD's Creatively Named Blog, May 02 2015 · 68 views

Essays, Not Rants! 163: Masculinity in Age of Ultron

I saw Age of Ultron Thursday night and I have thoughts. There’s the obvious nerd-out factor of the film, and it’s really cool and does a lot of things right (and, arguably, does indeed go smaller than the first Avengers), but those are essays rants for another day.

So let’s talk about how the movie portrays the idea of masculinity. Because it’s actually really interesting.

Age of Ultron, like The Avengers before it and probably every Marvel movie until I get my friggin’ Captain Marvel movie, is very male dominated. But that doesn’t stop it from portraying a variety of roles for the men to take on. Macho men being manly all the time this is not, rather the Avengers portray different shades of masculinity.

Bruce Banner may be the most obvious. His ‘alter-ego’ is inherently violent and destructive, a stark contrast to his more mild-mannered usual self. He’s a violent man who eschews violence. Here’s a man who would rather that problems not be solved by punching.

This serves as something of an antithesis to Thor, who delights in battle (and tries to comfort Bruce at one point by telling him how well he fought). That said, when Thor competes with Tony, it’s not over who’s the better fighter. Instead they’re boasting of the impressive accomplishments of their significant others. Implicit here is that these two who embody traditionally masculine traits (Thor’s the fighter, Tony is characteristically bawdy) are both with accomplished and important women, and both are okay with it. Being ‘manly’ doesn’t mean downplaying the accomplishments of others and sometimes it means deferring to that as the true measure by which they measure themselves.

It’s Steven Rogers, though, who as Captain America is in some regards the paragon of masculinity: he’s brave, physically fit, honorable, a leader, and so on. But at the same time he’s also humble, he hopes for the best in people, is willing to be vulnerable, and knows he can’t always do it alone. He’s a lot like Captain Awesome from Chuck, in that he embodies a sort of ideal masculinity, but without a lot of the toxicity that goes with it.

Which brings me to Hawkeye, who gets a vastly expanded role in this film. Not only do we get a deeper look into his inner life, but we also see his role as a part of the team. Clint is, not unlike his comics counterpart, effectively the most normal of the Avengers. More than that, though, he’s the one with the most normal and fulfilled personal life, making him also the most stable; the least ‘manly’ of the Avengers is also the one who’s got it the most together. Furthermore, within Age of Ultron he carries much of the film’s emotional weight; he may not be the hardest hitter but he is the heart. In many other stories this position is usually occupied by a woman, or the most feminine one if there are multiple (think Katara from Avatar and Kaylee from Firefly). Clint isn’t seen as less capable for it; he, like Raleigh in Pacific Rim, portrays a form of masculinity that’s supportive in nature.

The male action hero has been somewhat pigeonholed over the years. There’s an immense focus on the John McLane, John Matrix, and Indiana Jones type, that is the swaggering, self-reliant, gun toting, never backing down sort. Compare The Expendables, an ensemble cast of very traditionally manly action heroes, to Age of Ultron. The former are all cut from the same hyper-masculine cloth, whereas the male Avengers are more nuanced. None of them are seen as lesser for not being as much of a brawler as Thor or as brave as Captain America. Rather, the film acknowledges that masculinity comes in different forms and that’s perfectly okay.

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An Evening with Neil Gaiman

Posted by Zatth in Zatth Blag, May 01 2015 · 61 views

So as luck would have it, I live right by D.C. (explains the BrickFair VA connection), and so when I first heard of An Evening with Neil Gaiman, I (literally) jumped at the chance to see one of my favourite authors.

I just came back from the event, and wow.

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Granted, the guy was very humorous. If you've read Good Omens, fear not, the man is a witty in real time as he is funny in his prose.

I'm just floored by his answers, his philosophy, his ideas and explanations. It's great to meet those you're a fan of, but he really blew me away. He also made me want to work even more on my writing, so this is a sort of apology to my parents/extended relatives/anyone else who hoped someday Pablo would grow up and get a real job (granted, my major is in Language Arts for Education, but I'm just using it as a way to do both); I ain't quitting' on this yet.

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Name.

Posted by The Pulsating of the Heart in The Flow of Blood, May 01 2015 · 57 views
name change

If my name looks like it's no longer 'You Have 24 Hours', that's because it is no longer 'You Have 24 Hours'. Instead, you now have a heart that is pulsating.

If my name looks stupid, then I apologise on my behalf.

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no matter how i look at it, it's rainbow dash's fault i'm not popular

Posted by I-AM-YOUR-LORD in THE LAND OF "COLOURS". AND THE LAND OF "MAYHEM"., May 01 2015 · 74 views


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I've been reading some WataMote, and, well, this happened. Probably literally the last place I ever expected MLP to show up, but dang if it didn't.

(It turns out that Tomoko's voice actress also voices Rainbow Dash in the japanese dub, so I can see why they'd do this. It is that kind of series. Still, though.)


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I Saw Ultron

Posted by xccj in Team J.A.F., May 01 2015 · 87 views

He was actually a far more interesting character than I thought the trailers made him out to be.

The movie was good overall. A lot of cameo or guest appearances. Except for one that I was hoping for...

Spoiler


But, of course, the most critical part of the movie must come under some scrutiny, and that is... how well do the Lego sets fit in with it? Spoilers beware:

Spoiler


Anyway, good movie, glad I saw it. Based on first impressions, not necessarily my favorite Marvel movie (that might go to Winter Soldier, and even the first Avengers was a bit better) but still a very good movie, especially for all the characters it managed to handle, and all of the future plot lines it left for future films.

:music:

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"Dark"

Posted by Dina Saruyama in Scrimmy Bingus and the Crungy Spingus, Apr 30 2015 · 157 views

What does it mean for a story to be "dark"?

Does it mean it has death? It can't be; people died in Transformers: Animated, and I've yet to see it described as dark.

So what is it about death that makes something dark? Well, based on things I've seen described as "dark" (The Dark Knight trilogy, Michael Bay's Transformers, Bionicle 2005-2008), I'd say a "dark" story places an emphasis on killing, and on casual disregard for life. The more reference to death and deadliness, the more mature your story! A cavalier attitude towards life is a mark of a dark story.

Does it mean it has a deep, mature story? It can't be; the Transformers film is a bunch of explosions loosely held together by the thin threads of what might be called a plot if you squint at it, yet it's still dark. On the other hand, Land Before Time has a quite well-written and arguable mature story (ignoring its characters roles as talking 80's dinosaurs), yet only the most foolhardy would describe it as a dark film.

So what is it about "mature" stories that makes something dark? Well, taking a sampling of "dark" media again, it would seem the most important aspect is that no one is happy. Everyone is grimacing, or scowling, or in emotional anguish, everything is in low-key lighting, there's guns everywhere, and everyone want to kill. (Anyone who doesn't is naïve and will soon be "fixed".) In "dark" stories, happiness only exists to be stamped out by the cruel, cruel, world. Because hating everything is realistic!

Does it mean it has deep, complex characters? Can't be; movieverse Transformers have personalities that would blow away in a light wind, while Parks and Rec has deep, rich characters that feel like real people.

So what kind of characters make a dark film? From my experience (and as alluded to above), they care little for the consequences of death, are always angry, and have a penchant for one-liners that could be swapped out between any two characters to the same effect. They are not necessarily deep, nor complex, nor even realistic.

Does being "dark" mean being a good story? Of course not. There are many movies that are praised for being dark and edgy that are honestly the cinematic equivalent to devouring your own toe jam. They exist only for you to walk in, turn your brain off, and watch a bunch of people with weapons kill each other.

Does being "dark" mean being a bad story? I don't necessarily think so. I've watched movies that might be described as dark (i.e. Snowpiercer) that were also good, strong stories with rich characters. Being "dark" and being good aren't mutually exclusive.

The trick is that the story's defining feature shouldn't be that darkness. If all people can say about is that it was "dark and edgy", chances are it's let its story flop by the wayside to maximize the sheer edge. Characters become unbelievable for the sake of being gritty, story becomes irrelevant to the need for pure bloodbaths, and any remotely human emotion is removed unless it's blind rage.

A story cannot survive on being "dark" alone, and that should definitely not be the end goal of all stories. Being a well-written and solid story is a far more palatable idea, and if that means "sacrificing" the need to be "dark" so you can be "mature" and draw in the kind of audience who watches something solely because it's "dark", then so be it. In my opinion, they aren't even worth catering to.

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Beautiful Nostalgia - April Haul

Posted by Ektris in Bleeding Blue, Apr 30 2015 · 73 views
Bionicle, Digimon, Transformers and 1 more...

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  • Transformers Combiner Wars Air Raid
  • Transformers Combiner Wars Breakdown
  • Transformers Combiner Wars Dead End
  • Transformers Combiner Wars Offroad
  • Star Wars Black Series Chewbacca
  • 8549 Tarakava
  • 8584 Hewkii
  • 8548 Nui-Jaga
  • Black Akaku
  • Black Hau
  • Blue Akaku
  • Brown Miru
  • Brown Pakari
  • Green Kakama
  • Green Pakari
  • Red Akaku
  • White Hau
  • Blue Krana Vu
  • Orange Krana Vu
  • Orange Krana Yo
  • S.H. Figuarts Alphamon
The last of my HTS preorders came in, so I'm done with Transformers for a little bit. Is what I would say if wave 3 weren't already popping up somehow. I don't expect them to hit the US for at least another month though, so no big deal there. But hey, I have completed Superion and Menasor! Those two are awesome. Hasbro has seriously hit it out of the park strong with Combiner Wars. Maybe I'll take some pictures of them separately.

RAHI! MASKS! What is this, 2001?! Oh man, building the Rahi was an absolute blast! This wasn't my first experience with the Nui-Jaga; I had a friend with them as a kid. But it was with the Tarakava. I also took the time to build the Kahu and Tarakava-Nui just for fun. The strangeness of the latter truly cannot be appreciated until you make it yourself. The Tarakava themselves are just weird lol. It was just fun. To top it off, Hewkii completes 2003, and I added a load of masks to the collection. One day...

In our random bits category, Alphamon has arrived finally, plus I got my hands on a Chewbacca from HTS at long, long last. Chewbacca's a solid release for the Black Series. So much of the latest waves have just not interested me, so I've come to realize I'm not actually too upset that stores have legitimately just stopped putting out new stock of them. But Chewie I needed, for sure. And Alphamon is a real beauty. I'd probably still rate Imperialdramon above him, but in terms of the Digimon releases he is easily one of the best.

Missing is this month's AmiAmi order (complete with awesome SHF Star Wars!) due to shenanigans. While the order was originally meant to include two Figmas, those got delayed until June. And I'm actually quite thankful for that because the order was incredibly expensive with them. As it is, it still was, because the first run bonus with Vader is huge and brought shipping up to around $35-$40... You'll see. But that's still in transit because AmiAmi didn't update anyone's orders like usual and I had to reach out to them to ask for it to be done, because the delayed items held up the rest from shipping even though they were in stock. Still took them more time to ship out then it should have even after they fixed my orders.. So they're in transit now, but should have arrived already if not for the aforementioned shenanigans and unintentional delays in shipping.

~|ET|~


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Amiibo are messed up

Posted by Obsessionist in Chronic Obsessions, Apr 30 2015 · 102 views

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Their quality has been steadily declining for a while now.

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clickbait title

Posted by Decapixaetion in You Know, I Think Blues Are Stupid., Apr 29 2015 · 162 views

garbage entry

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Shady Drivin'

Posted by Goddess of the Dark Sun in silly strings, faerie wings, Apr 28 2015 · 86 views

So, I ordered a "new" Nintendo 3DS XL (To be fair I was in a spot where I'd need to upgrade my 3DS either way, since the normal size is too small for my hands and causes them to cramp up really fast) and that'll arrive tomorrow, which I'm pretty excited for. I also picked up Majora's Mask at the store (while also having a Link Between Worlds and Ocarina of Time for the same platform~), so my future's gonna be pretty Zelda filled.

Also had an eye appointment yesterday and they dilated my pupils, so I had to wear Garnet-esque shades for when I drove home: Linked 'cuz kinda large

But yeah, everyone at the eye place were incredibly kind to me and helped me with picking out some new frames when my eyes were dilated and I couldn't read the prices and stuff, and they complimented my outfit and necklace. c:

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Unfortunately

Posted by Bfahome in You're attacked by a Repair Nektann, Apr 28 2015 · 133 views

Didn't get the LEGO Store job. Looks like I'll be working the same job as the past two summers.

What's worse is there are reasons why this might be a good thing.

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I'm Working on a New Project

Posted by Nathan Evo in Moonbase Alpha, Apr 28 2015 · 107 views

and this is all you're allowed to see of it:

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Ants. Ants Everywhere. *shudders*

Posted by Inferna Firesword in Seneca's Keep, Apr 28 2015 · 125 views
Rant, Phobias, Insects and 1 more...

So for the last couple years at WWU (this year and the year before that), I've been living in the same dorm room. This is a problem. Why?

Well, the room I'm in has a reputation for having an insect infestation every spring quarter. My first year here, it was silverfish, though I was fortunate to not have to deal with them. The last two years, the years I've been living in the room of evil?

Carpenter ants.

And not just any carpenter ants. My roommates and I have had to deal with the reproductive-capable males -- aka, the ones with wings.

In a small room. Where they like flying near the light fixtures.

Soo ... yeah. Now you know why I now have a fear of flying insects.

(Rant over guys, sorry.)



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