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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Challenges » Ice Dragon Challenge

   
Author Topic: Ice Dragon Challenge
Josephine Kait
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So this is your basic intro competition. Many of you have done this before, but I will post the rules below:

1. Write a 13 line hooky intro. Explanation here of how to ensure yours is 13 lines. If it is longer it will get cut by KDW.

2. Write to the prompt. We are flexible, but it should be there...somewhere!

3. Post your intro using the format identified in the entries thread. Please don't post anything but entries on that thread.

4. All entries posted by noon (GMT) on Monday, the 25th of April (thatís 7am EST, USA). Voting opens immediately upon closure of entries. Please do not modify entries after voting begins. Voting will last the shorter of either one week or until all entrants have voted. Until the voting is closed anyone who wishes to may vote as well. I would ask that if you are voting but did not submit an entry, please take the time to crit the entries.

5. If you wish your entry to be anonymous (until the reveal at the end) then email me with your Hatrack name and your story FORMATTED exactly as it needs to be posted. By that I mean if you want italics then use the code, and make sure I can just cut and paste it into a post without any more fiddling...Be aware, if you send it to me and I post it and then you want to change something you won't be able to.

6. Guidance for voting: when voting is open you will be asked to vote for your top 3 stories, as well as your favorite title. Please take into account smoothness of prose, desire to read more, and adherence to the prompt.

You are not allowed to vote for your own.

You may post comments about the intros (encouraged) but this isn't obligatory.

If you fail to vote you will be disqualified and your votes will trickle down (if someone voted you first then your 5 points goes to whoever they voted for second).

When voting opens, vote before looking how others have voted. It is fairer and stops you from being influenced one way or the other (i.e. everyone votes for a particular story...)

Don't play if you don't plan to vote...

Prompt: A glacier white dragon with the most beautifully wicked eyes


DISCUSSION/QUESTIONS ON THIS THREAD ONLY--ENTRIES ONLY ON THE OTHER THREAD

Special thanks to skadder, whose rules I have shamelessly copied and modified.

edited to add: multiple entries welcome

[This message has been edited by Josephine Kait (edited April 15, 2011).]


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History
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Personally I believe there is an overabundance of dragon stories/novels.

However, I can recall the wonder and joy I felt upon reading Anne McCaffery's DRAGONFLIGHT when it was first published, and how Tolkien's Smaug was so deliciously evil

And, admittedly, one of the first short stories I ever wrote was THE DRAGON AND THE GEORGE (just before Gordon Dickson used it as the title of the first, and best, of his dragon novels).

Finally, I happened to watch Dreamwork's epic adaption of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON at home on Blu-Ray this week. Great film. So you caught me in a dragon susceptible mood, Josephine. Thanks for inviting me to play.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[This message has been edited by History (edited April 15, 2011).]


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Ethereon
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Wow. That's an extremely specific prompt.
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Utahute72
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Not my preferred Genre, but I give it a whack, maybe with a little twist as well.
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LDWriter2
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Hmm, So all we need is the opening?

Rats, had just the dragon story too.

But I should be able to come up with something if I work at it. And this time I need to triple check it, my last few stories have been in lousy shape.


And boy those two first ones were fast. Last night nothing, or was this thread posted last night, rats now I can't recall for sure.

Anyway, I check at Noon my time today and two sets of 13 lines already. Wow.

But you do do have something about dragons with wicked eyes.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited April 16, 2011).]


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Brendan
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That's a good question. Do you have to mention anything about the eyes? Conversely, could you use the eyes only as the trigger (not mention the dragon)? Josephine, could you rule one way or the other please.

@ Utahute72 - who says it needs to be that genre?


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Rhaythe
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Check out the movie "Sintel" on YouTube sometime for a little extra inspiration.

Wiki article, since I can't go to YouTube at work:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintel


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Josephine Kait
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It doesnít have to a particular genre, after all you could have a spaceship class called ďdragonsĒ with a painting on the side much like the old bombers. If the story works, go for it. (Iím half expecting a zombie dragon from shimiqua. )

And no the eyes donít have to be mentioned, I just hoped that the phrase would serve as inspiration. So go with what tickles your fancy!


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shimiqua
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Ha!
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Corin224
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Man . . . 13 lines is BRUTAL. Give me 20, and it'd be about 10 times better. I need like . . . 3 more sentences.

This is good practice, but Oy!


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Utahute72
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One thing they need on this site is a location where you can test the 13 lines outside the posting area.
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LDWriter2
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One question I believe I may know the answer to but figure I would ask anyway.

I didn't see anything in the rules but it might be implied and I haven't read every comment.

But can we enter more than once? I have two or three basic ideas... if I ever get to typing them out. I've been forgetting to do the first one. Each idea is different from the others. So far the first one is a different subgenera than any so far, not counting the last two I haven't read yet.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
One thing they need on this site is a location where you can test the 13 lines outside the posting area.

Utahute72, the reply box (aka "textarea") for any topic is coded to be exactly the right size for 13 lines. If it fits in that without needing a scroll bar to see everything (or if you've put in spaces between the paragraphs, and you account for them), then that counts as 13 lines.

That's how I determine the 13 lines, though I use Internet Explorer, and I've heard that the reply box on Mozilla Firefox has one more line (for which I am willing to "fudge").

Basically, if I see that you have tried to keep it at 13 lines, and it still goes over by one, I don't cut it.


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Josephine Kait
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Multiple entries are very welcome. I'm afraid that I slipped that in at the very bottom of the original post.
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Dark Warrior
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not sure I like multiple entries. Doing multiple entries for a one-line elevator pitch contest (even though a few of those were joke non-serious entries) is different from a first 13 or story. Its more like throwing a bunch of things against the wall and seeing what sticks. I guess that is what we are doing anyway but I fear it takes away from putting your best effort forward, not to mention that the judging is skewed when someone has two or three entries and another has one. Hmm wonder if someone could write well enough to win all three spots?
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Josephine Kait
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I like multiple entries, and I got to set the rules for this one. If someone can write well enough to win all three, then more power to them and they deserve it. Each story should be judged on its own merits, and considering the spectacular offerings so far, no one is failing to put their best foot forward. This is all about practice, feedback, and the eternal quest of turning good ideas into great stories. The more the merrier!
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LDWriter2
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quote:

I like multiple entries, and I got to set the rules for this one. If someone can write well enough to win all three, then more power to them and they deserve it. Each story should be judged on its own merits, and considering the spectacular offerings so far, no one is failing to put their best foot forward. This is all about practice, feedback, and the eternal quest of turning good ideas into great stories. The more the merrier!


Good, I can be that one.

More likely though be the one who is rejected the most.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

Utahute72, the reply box (aka "textarea") for any topic is coded to be exactly the right size for 13 lines. If it fits in that without needing a scroll bar to see everything (or if you've put in spaces between the paragraphs, and you account for them), then that counts as 13 lines.

Oops, I took a chance that didn't include the title and enter number.


Can we say something about the opening. Like I have two other alternative titles. Not sure if that would really influence how people think of my lines.

They probably speak for themselves.


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LDWriter2
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With my entry 20 I used a modified suggestion on try to get rid of the funny characters.
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Ethereon
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My only issue with multiple entries is that it can become unwieldly to judge and comment on so many entries. It's difficult for me (time-wise)to give useful feedback when the numbers get really high (I'm slow).
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Josephine Kait
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Unfortunately, I'm starting to see what you mean. Maybe I won't do the multiple entries thing next time. Although most of the entries are so unique and creative! I find myself wishing that they were full stories, because I want to read them.
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mc1ate1mad1cow
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LDwriter, the same problem is coming up in your entries!! Why don't you copy past from notepad?? Otherwise go to a cyber cafe and post! Don't let those symbols obviate your chances of winning, AGAIN!
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Brendan
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How about, where someone has done more than one entry, you can choose to comment on only one. That way, it reduces the workload for the time-poor. For this to work, however, it may need Josephine to write a list of authors at the top post, with the entry numbers beside them. The authors themselves could indicate which one they prefer the comment on, which might be bolded in the list.

[This message has been edited by Brendan (edited April 22, 2011).]


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Ethereon
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All entries have to be read anyway in order to vote. Comments are already optional. I'm sure everyone will just do what they have time for. I appreciate the idea Brendan, but to me that would just complicate things further and create a lot more work for Josephine.
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LDWriter2
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Even though I have entered more than once and have another one I will be doing, I can see the problem with so many. However on the other side of that, last 13 lines challenge still had lot even with one entry. I haven't look at the names of the writers, except for that one by snapper--rather unique I think-so I don't know yet how many have more than one.

Personally, that comment about the subject didn't have to be about real dragons, fired up my muse.


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LDWriter2
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And Mc1 along with anyone else who agrees with him. I don't have notepad, and obviously the program I thought might work the same didn't.

But I see those characters in at least three other posts here so I'm not the only one.

I have another idea to try for the next one.


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Brendan
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Notepad comes with Windows, under Accessories. It is as simple a text editor as you can get. I suspect that the Mac has an equivalent. If not, look online for one that works on the Mac.
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LDWriter2
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quote:

Notepad comes with Windows, under Accessories. It is as simple a text editor as you can get. I suspect that the Mac has an equivalent. If not, look online for one that works on the Mac.

They do, in fact it's called textedit but that is the program I used already...for my second one anyway.


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LDWriter2
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I won't say who of course but I think I have chosen who I'm voting for First. I'll explain who and why after the voting starts. But wow, neat.



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Owasm
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LD,

You might check what kind of language you're typing with. Perhaps it's not English. (see Language and Text in Preferences)


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Corin224
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LD,

You're suffering from a CLASSIC encoding mismatch problem. I'm a web programmer and these things give me NIGHTMARES! Encoding is such evil stuff, and yet SOOOOO important.

The quick answer is to go into TextEdit and make sure that your encoding is set NOT on 'Automatic', but on 'Windows Latin-1' I believe from what I'm reading that this is simply a setting in the TextEdit 'Preference' menu. That should take care of it.

The long explanation is:

The ' character SHOULD be a straight quote, but for some odd reason, it appears your text editor is rendering it as a "smart quote" in the Mac OS-Roman encoding. That character is #211 in the Mac OS Roman character set, so when you paste it into your browser, it says "that's character #211!" without mentioning which chracter set it's using.

The forum, however, is running in ISO-8859-1 encoding. The ISO-8859-1 character set sees character #211 as ”. (Incidentally, the smart DOUBLE quote #213 in OS Roman, is Ő in ISO-8859-1, which is the other odd character we see in your posts.) So the forum, not realizing you're on a silly Mac helpfully renders the character you asked for, which is not the one you wanted.

When you switch TextEdit to use 'Windows Latin-1' (which is ACTUALLY Windows-1252, but is compatible with ISO-8859-1 . . . more on that below) there are no smart quotes in that character set, and TextEdit will quit trying to use them.

I hope that helps. If you want to check out another forum where they help someone else out with this problem, look here on page 2 of that thread.

And if you want the nifty character set guides I used here is Mac OS Roman and ISO-8859-1

And just for good measure, check out Unicode and why the UTF-8 (the most prominently used encoding for Unicode) rocks.

And for an example of how Microsoft LOVES to hijack standards, check out the Windows-1252 character set, which is the SAME AS ISO-8859-1, but with more displayable characters in the middle of the range instead of the un-displayable character codes in ISO-8859-1.

Sorry about that last tangent, but the short answer is . . . use the 'Windows Latin-1' encoding and you'll be fine from now on.

See why this stuff gives me nightmares?

*edited for clarity*

[This message has been edited by Corin224 (edited April 23, 2011).]


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LDWriter2
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Thanks Corin224.

But I tried something that used to work on my pervious computer when I had problems sending stories to Strange Horizon. I had to make sure the quotation marks were straight instead of curved. With this computer and everything updated I don't seem to have that problem with them anymore, now its all writing problems.

So you can see if it worked. If this doesn't work I will try changing the settings.

But I give up on the number of lines. Earlier I tried three different fonts but all had that scroll bar even though my word processor said 13 lines and after a change I counted 12. The last challenge worked okay even though I had 14 lines. Just now I used the original font with changed quotation marks but same thing. We are still having a disagreement.


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Corin224
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LD,

Don't get discouraged! It DID work. Look at all your double quotes! They worked fine. Just the apostrophes (single quotes) that you didn't double check left.

Just make sure you're not using the smart quotes . . . single OR double, and you'll be fine.

Or . . . you could change the encoding, and then you wouldn't have to worry about it.

Looks much better, tho!


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LDWriter2
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Actually, the discouragement was for something else. Sometimes those 13 lines don't want corporate.
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Utahute72
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Looks like Josephine hit a home run with this challenge, lots of good stuff in here.
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LDWriter2
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Okay, I redid my first entry "Her Lost Love". See how it does. I tried to cut out a line or two also.


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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34 entries! Does anyone else think that we should vote for 5?


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Corin224
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Josephine,

I'm feeling a bit guilty about all the work you're going to have adding up these votes, speaking as a multiple contributor. I have a nifty spreadsheet I put together for the last competition that'll make tallying votes much easier . . . if you're interested.

Just let me know.


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LDWriter2
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Did my last one. Sorry for so many but as I said before I got inspired by something she said.


You don't have to comment on all but if you do any please do "Her Lost Love".


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LDWriter2
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I'm working my way through the openings. But it will take me a couple of days since I'm commenting. Usually short comments.


But I liked this challenge because I have been drawn to writing dragons stories for a while. I only have two at the moment- one is UF about three people having to fight a dragon that appears one night and a regular fantasy- but I want to write a few more. Past few months just something about dragons that gets my muse going.

But, yep another one, this reminds me of a dragon anthology I was reading. Didn't finish it for some reason and now I'm not sure where it is. One story was definitely different. It seemed to be a cyberpunk fantasy about a dragon...if there is such a thing as cyberpunk fantasy. But since it's UF there probably is.


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Josephine Kait
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Alright! We're over halfway there! 11 out of 21 participants have voted, leaving only 10 yet to go.

We have a couple of clear frontrunners, but you never know what will happen in the backstretch.


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LDWriter2
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And it's a good thing the deadline came when it did.

Tuesday night I was outside getting something out of my pick up and I came up with a new idea. Basically it explained the why of some of winter storms they have been having in the East and elsewhere. An ice dragon was looking for someone and finally found him in the West.



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Josephine Kait
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LOL

Write it anyway!


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Josephine Kait
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Since we still have six people who have yet to vote, including one of the frontrunners, I've decided to extend the deadline by two days. I know there are a lot of entries (and not everyone loves that as much as I do), so if you need to, just post your votes and come back to the crits later.

So the new deadline is noon (GMT) on Wednesday, May 4th (that's 7am EST, USA). After that time all votes will roll down as stated in the rules.

Thanks guys


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Dark Warrior
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Enjoyed this. My last entries seemed to be soooooo dark I decided to have fun and lighten this entry up a bit. Seems a few of you liked it. I really liked the Dragon MC too...especially before I cut my original 25 lines down to 13.

I think he ended up a mix of Piers Anthony Xanthian puns and Seaheart Foamfollower.

I have an idea for a future challenge but not the next one. I have a special prize package that I am lining up for the winners Look forward to the next one though.


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Owasm
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Thanks to Josephine for a dragon-sized writing challenge.
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LDWriter2
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Yeah, my thanks also Josephine. And I never got to doing that last opening I referenced. I keep thinking about it but never get to it.


I did better this time, esp. with that first one.

I thought I might get a HM
but at least a few people liked that opening.

And it was some good reading too as well as fun deciding on who to vote for.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited May 06, 2011).]


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shimiqua
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Yay! Thanks JK for running this. It looked like a lot of work just doing the math at the end.
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Josephine Kait
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I'm good at math!
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