Hint #1 (*modified*) "If you're looking for my BLOG 'followers', you won't see them, but you will find something else" -Bottom of blog page, "14 is blank"
Hint #2 "The post where HiaG all began" -First HiaG post, 6/6/2009 "1 is blank"
Hint #3: "I love pop-culture references! Have you heard Merle Ambrose's bloopers? (May, 2010) "N=11"
Hint #4: "I have advice for young W101 bloggers (July, 2009) "12=O"
Hint #5 : " 'Quoth the raven' graphic to the right leads to a feather in conTEXT" Twitter Tweet "N=10"
Hint #6 : "Feathery flapping wings go "swish" (March, 2011) "6=S"
Hint #7 : "Have you met my daughter, Ashley Duskhunter?" Visit link. "13=D"
Hint #8 : I love the dueling circles in Housing! It's an Item I've wanted for a long time (June 2009) "4=H"
Hint # 9 : "When reading a thought-provoking post, like 4/4/11, you should also read the comments." Read 'comments', then find code in main post "U=3"
Hint#10 : "I'm curious. How exactly *does* a skeleton speak? Maybe I'll ask Mr. Sternum." Audio code "2=O"
Hint#11: Ironic that this is a Mount Contest. I used to *question* the very idea of mounts in W101. Glad my concerns were unfounded: Sometimes, I'm *happy* to be wrong: (picture, 4/5/11) Math date=5/7 /2009- July 5th, 2009 "8=H"
Hint#12: " In the digital world of blogging, you and I read in ASCII(TEXT), but the computer only sees BINARY '1's and '0's, ( Example: " Hi! " to you and me (decoded), is " 01001000 01101001 00100001 " to a computer. If only there were a way to translate binary like this: 01010100 00111101 00110111 Binary Translator: "T=7"
Hint#13: "Pop Quiz" -Get more right than wrong -"E=9"
Hint#14: "No tricks, no twists. Just a simple message for you" =click the link "R=5"
Well, the 'easy' part is done, now on to more difficult matters:
First off, Tons of you got the right answer. Gratz, my Ravens.
Many of you did not read the instruction. Reading is not 'optional'. One person actually 'rage posted' how 'unfair' I was,on the 'winners announcement', without bothering to notice they had won, (r u serious, really?).Yes, I know it's frustrating. Trust me, it's no picnic for me, either
A few actually tried cheating, (and you think we don't watch for things like that? We bloggers talk to each other, you know) Go ahead, risk your W101 account. You think redeemed codes can't be tracked? Sooner or later, you'll get sloppy, and we'll be happy to see you go. We want real players, not 'playahs'.
However, many, many of you were positive and supportive (thank you so much!) I had 'East Coasters' applauding the 3-hour delay to include 'West Coasters'! People who put Fair Play over "what's in it for me?". It is to those people, and the ones who were 'just happy to be playing' that I am thankful. Your positive attitudes far outweigh the selfish and negative ones.
Now, on to the hardest part, (for me)..How this contest failed. Or, more specifically, how *I* failed. Please be patient with me. It's still kind of raw for me, so please indulge me in a "parable" of sorts. It's easier to tell, this way...
A Story of Pride, Failure, Kindness, and Redemption
"Pull up a chair, and get comfortable.", Autumn said, "This may take a while."
Long, long ago, in a Galaxy far, far away there was a wandering soul. We'll call her, uh, 'April Dawnhealer', yeah, that sounds good..
April was an explorer of many separate Universes. Always looking for a place to call 'Home'. One day, she stumbled into the 'quaint' little Universe of Spirallia. It was a peculiar little place, but it had warm, sociable people. It had many different Tents, like MarrowBone, Lizzard'sPyre, Bearenheim, and more. All lovingly ruled by The Royal Family, located on King's Penninsula, led by King J.Topp CoolMan. It was a place where Old Souls and Pixies all danced vibrantly together, in common purpose. Why, just to walk around was a Song of the Feet!
April looked all around , and said "This place is Amazing", and quickly worked towards Citizenship in Spirallia. The Royal Family was constantly producing, from their workshops 'Official Con Tents' for the population. Always something new to be experienced. All was well in Spirallia, and with April.
Soon, April discovered that the Royal Builders weren't the only ones building Tents. Thomas KittySpittle was a recognized builder of Private Tents, and the small community of Spirallia looked fondly on him. April was immediately impressed, and was inspired to build Tents of her own, watching Master Builder KittySpittle, and crafting her own, clumsy Tents. Master Builder KittySpittle took notice of April, and soon, a friendship was formed. With time and practice, April's Tents improved.
Days turned to weeks, then months. April toiled away, rapidly absorbing 'Official Con Tents', all the while crafting her own. Along the way, she had made many friends, like Kevin CombatSweat, Fallon ShadyKnife, Cassandra GrapesareDreamy (the artist), and many, many others, far too many to list. She had been granted "The Royal Nod" by King's Peninsula, and answered directly to Princess StoneRose, a wise member of the Royal Family, whose job was to oversee, assist, and guide Personal Tent builders of The Nod. April was among amazing people, and some citizens looked upon her the same way she looked upon Master Builder KittySpittle. It was a Golden time.
Things had never been better but April DawnHealer was growing discontent, and it reflected in her Personal Tents. She consumed 'Official Con Tents' faster than The Royal Workshops could create them. She was becoming 'jaded', and her most frequent colors for Tents were "Sarcasm", and "Critique".
"This is not good" April said. "I will not allow my Tents to go so sour!" So, she packed away her tools, and tore down her Workshop. The citizens were taken aback and confused, so April put her workshop up, left word with Thomas KittySpittle, and left Spirallia.
Months went by, and April was once again a Wandering Soul across the Multiverses. This time, however, things were different. Every Universe she visited was not inspiring. Either "not-yet-ready", or "time worn, and trampled.". Some were 'pretty', but had no substance. Some places were 'nice', but were filled with hostile citizens. Some had Royal Families that merely didn't care. Everyplace she went, it was not Spirallia. She had even tried building new Tent Workshops, only to be used by evil 'Princes'. The more she explored the places that weren't Spirallia, the more she realized what she had foolishly left behind.
It was time to go Home. It was time to retutn to Spirallia.
About that same time Spirallia's workshops were hinting at the Next Great Tent- Starlestia.
"I shall test the waters", April exclaimed, speaking of both Starlestia, and the citizens of Spirallia. She had left under a petulant stormcloud, and she had turned her back on Spirallia, and may find herself (deservedly) shunned. She had no right to expect anything more.
Much to her surprise, even the idea of April DawnHealer returning to Spirallia was met with great celebration, by those same dear-hearted citizens. Starlestia was coming, and so was April! Yes, April was truly going home! There were new Personal Tent builders everywhere. April was quite bemused and impressed at one in particular: Dutius Maximus, a short orange-haired Dwarf with bushy eyebrows, who was Big in his devotion to keeping the Pixies safe. There was so much to do!
Then tragedy struck.
An errant Pixie had (quite on accident) destroyed April's Hammer, "Toshiba-san". That same hammer that April' workshop depended on. Tohiba-san was her transport across he Multiverses, and now she was cut off from all of them, including Spirallia. She had been so close, but had lost everything to a single glass of (Diet) Choke. April was devastated. There was no way to fix Toshiba-san. April slowly slid into morose detachment.
She turned to her toolbox, and her only outlet was her Sonny Workstation. It, at least, allowed her limited travel in the Sonny Universe, and had a 'Home' of it's own. It wasn't Spirallia, but it wasn't isolation, either.
Days bled together, as they often do. They merged like molasses globs into weeks, and again, months. All the while, Tohiba-san sat neglected, where April would not even look at it. Deep in denial, she maintained her Multiverse 'fix' on a much smaller scale.
Eventually, the mindless distraction of the Sonny Workstation wore off. It's 'Home' no more than an advertiser's Theme Park. Shaking her head, as though to clear a clouded, April picked up Toshiba-san for the first time in a long time. Well, it's still a hammer, if only a little worse for wear. The handle could never be fixed, but April discovered an 'emergency handle', which made Toshiba-san 'functional' again, but extremely ungainly.
Cautiously, April navigated Toshiba-san past the Multiverses she had explored, then abandoned. It was not long at all before he had returned to her Spirallia Workshop, and to Spirallia, itself. So much had changed! Starlestia had long been released, and Spirallia had grown from a 'quaint' little Universe into a thriving metropolis. So many citizens! April set to work, catching up with 'Official Con Tents', and Private Tents alike.
She re-designed her workshop, and quietly set to work, knowing her Tents were weak, and paltry, in comparison to her peers. Kevin CombatSweat was a famed DNA expert. Fallon ShadyKnife had an impressive Colosseum for Citizens, Dutius Maximus was an established "moving pictures" Dwarf (as ever, keeping the Pixies safe). Even Thomas KittySpittle was still patiently creating Tents, but with an entire *Family* of KittySpittles. What did April have? Nothing, by comparison. She had to "earn herself, anew".
Creating Tents was much harder, now. Most of her Tents were 'a season behind' the Tents of others.
Most surprising, however, was that April still had "The Royal Nod". Positively incomprehensible. Many Royal Families, in other Universes , would have had April excommunicated, and banished for all time. But this was Spirallia, ruled by King's Peninsula. April was given a 2nd chance, by the Royal Family's Grace. April was determined that that Grace would not go unappreciated. Princess StoneRose had just announced a Royal Tent Giveaway, for Spirallia's citizens, to be held through Personal Tent Builders of Then Nod. Such was the generosity of King's Peninsula.
This was April's chance! "I will build the finest Personal Tent ever seen!" April promised herself, and set to work straight away. In her haste, she failed to notice a fatal flaw in the foundation of her Tent. Every night she toiled, and crafted to impress the Citizens the next day. As the days wore on, the Tent grew, and the fatal crack in the foundation did, as well, now obscured by the flurry of activity.
Many new citizens , (well, new to April, at least) , visited April's Workshop. They marveled at her Tents.
It was just like the Golden Times, but much, much busier, especially with an emergency-handled Toshiba-san.
Then, almost as the Tent was built, 14 stories high, a passing citizen noticed the crack in the foundation, and pointed it out, much to April's dismay.
"No!", April exclaimed, "No,no,no,no,no! I'm too close! I'm April DawnHealer, a Spirallia Builder of The Nod! I can't let this petty crack ruin my chance!" So, April applied a 'patch', to seal the crack. Unfortunately, the crack had existed so long, and had been ingrained so deep, that the 'patch' led to more cracks. Citizens were becoming upset, that April's Tent wasn't stable, and seemed to be swaying. April knew the flaw was fatal, and the damage done. No matter the outcome, she had botched her chance.
April was frantic! She surveyed her options, and ran to Princess StoneRose, to give her advanced warning.
"Your Highness" April explained, "I've failed you, I've failed King's Peninsula, and I've failed the Citizens! I need to make it right! My Tent will crash, and the Citizens will revile me! I have to fix it!"
Before Princess StoneRose could reply, April went seeking to exchange gold for "Tiaras" (Spirallia's currency). "Yes, yes..I can do *this*.." April was frenzied with stress, her temples poundng. "I don't care if it costs many thousands of Tiaras, I'll just buy Royal Tents..and Present them to citizens that I've wronged, yes! I can fix this! It has to be right!". The roar of upset citizens was getting louder, as more joined in. The Tent was going to Fall, and cleanup was going to be messy. Her hopes evaporated, April could only minimze the damage now.April stared at the Tent, waiting for it to Collapse. Maybe if she was really lucky, it would fall on her...
"April" came a voice from behind. Princess StoneRose was there, and April couldn't help ut feel a burning shame, as her eyes misted.
"I can fix this, Princess" April stammered, "I just need to buy some Tiaras, then..."
"April", Princess StoneRose "Take these. Use them to fix your Tent." She tossed a bag to April.
Looking in the bag, it was more Royal Tents, so April could appease the wronged, the frustrated, and the angry. "I...I can't!", stammered April, reeling from this Colossal Rescue by Princess StoneRose, "It's not fair to the ohers.."
"April", the Princess replied, "This are Our Tents, this is what we do. You will not spend Tiaras on this situation.". It was only an explanation, but April accepted it as Law. Even April wasn't so dumb that she was going to argue with a Spirallian Princess. StoneRose departed, leaving April "holding the bag", (so completely contrary to the usual use of the phrase).
April sunk to the floor, and wept. If ever someone could actually be "Killed with kindness", then April DawnHealer had just been "drawn, and quartered" by Princess StoneRose. April's head pounded, her neck muscles were like iron cables, and all the energy was streaming out of her.All her efforts, wasted. She was undone.
Then, like a scene from "The Grouch who Swiped CrispMasts", April saw clearly. It wasn't about Big, shiny Personal Tents, it never was. It was about a caring community, fun and safe for all. Princess StoneRose and King's Peninsula led by example, not by decree. They encourage it among all it's citizens, builder and non-builder alike. There is no "Me" in "Community". Pride can blind, and April was seeing now, with the scales removed from her eyes.
Still, there was work to be done.
The time of April's final unveiling of the last addition of her crippled Tent. Fast and furious swept in the ciizens, and the Tent held. It swayed, it buckled, but it held.
"Citizens, please be patient with me, I have an announcement, within the hour"
That next hour,April presented The Gift, before the citizens.
"I have failed you, but King's Peninsula has not. If you will remember me for my prideful shortcomings, then remember also the Kindness that King's Peninsula has shown all of us. I, myself, deserve no credit, but I can tell you who does. I'm am spent, and will tell the tale, tommorow."
And did so, the very next day:
April gatherd her friends in her workshop:
"Pull up a chair, and get comfortable.", April said, "This may take a while."
Long, long ago, in a Galaxy far, far away there was a wandering soul. We'll call her, uh, 'Autumn DuskHunter', yeah, that sounds good..
|Pride comes before the Fall.|
So, there you have it. It's messy, it's harsh, it is (like me) a "work in progress". Saying either "Sorry" to you all, or "Thank you" to KingsIsle seems so terribly weak, and indequate.