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December 1, 2012
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(Almost Nothing To Do With) Mass Effect by EthereaS (Almost Nothing To Do With) Mass Effect by EthereaS
Alliance operatives Donna "Double D" Domenitzo and Etherea "Space Cadet" Serendipity make a disturbing discovery while securing the abandoned Hostess bakery on Kal Auri 7's second moon. The reconstruction of the event presented below is based on their after-action reviews, Alliance mission reports, audio recorded on their comm units during the event, and representations made to an Alliance Civil Liberties Union attorney by the surviving family members of an unemployed former member of the Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union.

============================================================================

DONNA: *suddenly pulls her weapon and fires* *BLAM*

ETHEREA: *removes her glowing orange visor and cleans it with a tissue* "DD, what in the hell are you shooting at?"

DONNA: "Look, over there in the corner, there's some kind of hideous, blob-like....alien.....thing!" *BLAM* *BLAM*

ETHEREA: "STOP SHOOTING! I think it may be human....oid! Look, it's wearing a Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union jacket!" *sniffs the air and crinkles her nose* "And you can smell the laziness from here."

DONNA: "Ewww! I hope that big stain on the front is icing."

ETHEREA: "I think that's blood from where you shot it, DD."

DONNA: "No, the other one."

ETHEREA: "Oh my glaccckk!" *gagging sound* "I just threw up in my mouth a little bit."

DONNA: "So that shiftless....thing....is the reason we can't get Twinkies anymore? Or Wonder Bread?"

ETHEREA: "Well, I really liked the cupcakes and the Ding Dongs, myself, but yeah."

DONNA: *looking at Etherea's ass*: "I can see you've stored a few away."

ETHEREA: *glaring at Donna* "Uh huh. Just you wait. Keep that up, and POW! to the moon!" *Etherea gestures* "The other moon, I mean, not the one we're on right now."

DONNA: *rolls her eyes* "So am I in trouble for shooting it...or him...or whatever?"

ETHEREA: *shrugs* "Nah, we'll just say you thought you were being charged by a Volus high on red sand. But I'm putting you in for remedial marksmanship training, I think you only hit it in the leg-like blobular mass area. Now it's screaming something about the ACLU suing us to death or something."

DONNA: "What a whiner. I only shot it like three times. Anyone who has ever played Mass Effect knows you have to shoot something a hundred times with these stupid guns to actually kill it. Well, I guess we should finish the thing off, then."

ETHEREA: *nods* "Yeah, it only has about a 97% chance of survival with the slugs you've put in it so far, and we wouldn't want it to suffer. And...um...you were just joking about my butt being big, weren't you?"

DONNA: "No, it's huge-normous, but you're freakishly tall so it kind of evens it out a little bit."

ETHEREA: "You are such a short little bi....."

DONNA: *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM*

ETHEREA: *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM* *BLAM*

DONNA: "That's for the Sno Ball I didn't get to eat while watching NAPD* Blue last night, you lazy union slob."

ETHEREA: "Yeah!" *BLAM* *BLAM* "I was really craving some of those little mini powdered doughnuts." *BLAM*

DONNA: *sighs* "Let's check the rest of the place out, maybe there are some Twinkies around here somewhere. They say those things stay good for a hundred years."

ETHEREA: "Yeah, in a hundred years all those wrinkles you have will look natural."

DONNA: "Why....you....I oughta........."

*END TRANSMISSION*

*Nos Astra Police Department

=========================================================================

I'm not much of a gamer, but I am planning on getting Mass Effect 3 one of these days. So, I recently replayed Mass Effect, and I'm currently playing through Mass Effect 2 again. I also just happened to coincidentally get these nice Mass Effect costumes in a Halloween hunt in Second Life, and I thought they looked great so I wanted to get some pics of them.

All of that is apropos of nothing, as the caption has virtually nothing to do with Mass Effect (although people who have played ME or ME2 will probably get some of the references) and everything to do with my pique at Hostess closing down. I'm still not sure why I conflated the two for this caption, but I hope it's at least entertaining.

Oh, and if you're one of the people responsible for me never having another Hostess cupcake, I hope you die and go to a special hell where there is nothing to eat but Hostess baked goods and not a drop of milk anywhere. But, mainly, just die. :)

:iconethereas: Etherea "Space Cadet" Serendipity

:icondonnadomenitzo: Donna "Double D" Domenitzo
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:iconunionpacific844:
unionpacific844 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Hostess execs give themselves hugh pay raises (chief exec pay tripled from $750,000 to $2.5 million; 9 other execs recieve raises btween $90,000 and $400,000), declare bankruptcy a few months later, ask bankruptcy judge for $1.75 million bonus, blame unions.

Consider this anaology: a Teabagger, a union member, and a CEO are all sitting at a table with a dozen twinkies
The CEO immediately takes 11 Twinkies for himself.
The CEO turns to the Teabagger and says, "Watch out for that union guy - he wants part of your twinkie."
The Teabagger then cusses out the union member over the CEO's accusation.
While the Teabagger is distracted, the CEO takes the last twinkie, and quietly leaves the room.
The Teabagger still blames the union member.

Hostess isn't alone here failed finacial firm MF Global did the same, as did Citigroup which saw an 88% profit loss. Construction giant Caterpiller gave it's CEO a 60% pay raise (paying him $17 million) while forcing pay and pension freezes on it's union workforce.

And just to point something out, unions don't make American labor too expensive; CEO send jobs overseas to make more money for themselves. They can easily afford labor over here and will be rich either way; it's just that one way will make them richer. The less money they pay their workers, the more there is for them.

Higher pay for workers is good for the economy; workers who are paid more and treated better by their bosses are more productive, and thus benefits the company. For example, Walmart pays it's workers poverty wages with foodstamps and other welfare making up the difference; Costco, on the other hand, pays it's workers livable wages and benefits. Guess which one's more profitable.

To blame unions for poor economic proformance is rediculous. Unions helped to build this country, and, while sometimes going a little too far (cough*tenure*cough), are generally good for the working and middle class. Better pay, benefits and working conditions = more productive workers. Higher salaries mean more money for the average citizen, and thus a stronger middle class that will stimulate the economy by spending their money on goods and services (like twinkies), thus forcing the producers of those products to reinvest their money. Unions make it so that we can have these increased wage, benefits, and better working conditions. And the Hostess exec COULD foot the bill, but WOULDN'T.

I apologize if this annoyed or insulted you in any way. Rant over. (also in
Reply
:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
That's alright, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Having lived, worked, and managed in the real world, I've seen union and non-union labor doing the same jobs, in both the steamship industry (I was an import agent) and education. I've never seen union workers who were generally competent, productive, and motivated. Ever. I've never seen union labor that could hold a candle to comparable non-union workers. Ever.

I have no problem with workers organizing, but I'd never set up a business of my own in anything but a right to work state. Not all union workers are bad, but virtually all unions are. There was a time when unions were necessary to force labor reforms and end harmful workplace practices, but those times are long past. This is not a defense of CEOs or of white collar incompetence, because there is plenty of that and it should be rooted out, too. But at least the corporate management is beholden to the shareholders, and if they're willing to pay ridiculously inflated salaries it's their money to burn.

Unions are a law unto themselves. The reality is that unions drive up labor costs, and more importantly, make themselves unsustainable long-term with the costs of their pensions and medical benefits. This has happened again and again and again, Hostess being a perfect example, as was GM.

The state employees in Wisconsin are another good example, and in a way are much worse. It's one thing for workers in private industry to organize, but there should be no such thing as a "public employee union." Either you're a civil servant or you're self-serving, you can't be both. These are people working menial jobs requiring chimpanzee-level IQs demanding that the taxpayers raise their benefits 16% a year when their wage and benefit packages are already vastly better than those of the private sector. Watching the school teachers in Chicago protest when they're already among the highest paid in the country was also amusing, particularly considering that most of them couldn't form a sentence, and their incompetence is evident in the quality of Chicago-area schools.

But, I believe in free enterprise and I believe in individual initiative and self-advancement, and I generally want to see people be successful. If they're not fit or competent enough to do it on their own and need a union to tell them what to do, fine. But when the union breaks the business and the union workers are out of a job, I'm not going to do a lot of weeping over it. And in an economy like this, with so many Americans struggling, watching iconic companies destroyed by the labor and pension costs forced on them because their management was stupid enough to employ union labor is a tragedy. There are a lot of Americans who would have loved to have had a Hostess job, and would have been happy to take the associated pay and benefits without worrying about whether this CEO or that CFO got a raise. But I guess there are some people who can't get by without feeling envious and engaging in class warfare. Hopefully, there will be about 18,500 fewer of them if all of the union former Hostess employees starve to death over Christmas. :)
Reply
:iconunionpacific844:
unionpacific844 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Your comments seem to be based more in ideology than in reality. What you are saying is not what is actually going on. You are still asuming that unions are lazy and bad for the economy. While I do feel that unions have gotten out of hand, we shouldn't be demonizing them over it. It wasn't the unions who caused Hostess to go bankrupt.
Also, that last part about union former Hostess employees starving to death over Christmas, WTF!! Seriously, think about your words before you say them (or in this case type them). People before pastries!
Reply
:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
If it makes things easier for you to pretend that all opinions that are divergent from yours are based on "ideology," I have no problem with that, but I stated quite plainly at the outset of my response exactly how I came to form the opinion of unions that I hold. I've seen them in action, and I've seen how they perform against non-union competition, and there's no comparison. I'm sure there are exceptions that prove the rule, but they're exceptions nonetheless. And public employee unions are bankrupting municipalities all across the country, and their pension funds are bankrupting entire states. GM was done in by unions and then saved by stealing from the investors and taxpayers so that they could retain their gold-plated benefits and kick the can down the road for a few years. Now, are management and elected officials to blame? Certainly. They create the problem by giving in to non-productive labor.

And I'm not demonizing unions any more than the left is demonizing the "rich" or "teabaggers." It was James Hoffa who declared war on me, not the other way around, although my two cents of advice to that fatbody and his slovenly followers is that they should probably get in a little bit better shape if they want a real war. Working three day weeks and sprinting back and forth to the buffet table isn't much of a PT test.

And, FYI, 99% of people who don't write for Mother Jones or The Nation agree that it's unions that drove Hostess into the financial crisis that ended the company, and it was most certainly unions, and their refusal to follow a court-ordered plan that would have trimmed their wages and benefits, that put the final nail in the coffin.
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:iconunionpacific844:
unionpacific844 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
By the way, really great pictures you've been posting on here.
Again, sorry for insulting you, been very stressed out lately, wasn't thinking clearly.
Reply
:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
I can't lie, I do find the term "teabagger" insulting. I don't think it's fair that I should be referred to by the name of some perverse sexual act because I believe the government spends too much money and doesn't manage the economy responsibly. But, as for the rest of it, we just have a difference of opinion. That's the great thing about America, we can hate each other's politics but still share other interests. We sort the political stuff out every two years at the polls. I wasn't happy this time or in '08, and I'm sure you felt the same way in 2000 and 2004.

I'm no fan of most high-level corporate management, but choosing CEOs is a high-risk, high-reward occupation and it can make or break companies. People handling, in some cases, billions of dollars of other people's money should be rewarded for it, but their rewards should be based on performance. But the same goes for workers at every level. I don't have anything against private sector unions in theory, but in practice they almost universally tend to lead to one result, and that's unsustainable pension and healthcare costs. When you couple that with much lower levels of performance, it's not a winner for anyone, including the workers, when Hostess time comes around.

I want everyone to be successful, even people I don't like. I believe the "rising tide lifts all boats" theory espoused by JFK is correct. I've never understood class warfare or the vitriol that some people have for "the rich" or, flipping things around, "the poor." I've never really coveted anyone else's possessions. If the "soak the rich" game worked, I'd support it, but if you took every penny of money and every asset from the Forbes 400 (the 400 wealthiest people in the US) you'd barely have enough revenue to run the US government for a year, and maybe less if things keep going at this rate. The bottom 20% of taxpayers pay 3/10ths of 1% of all income tax in this country. The top 20% make 50% of the nation's income and pay 70% of the nation's taxes. That's according to the CBO. You can't spend a trillion dollars a year more than you bring in and then propose taxing "the rich" for $85 billion extra dollars a year and pretend that's a solution, especially when you've already got a $16 trillion dollar national debt. Just do a google search for the national debt clock, and look at your family's share of it. It's unjust. It's immoral. The last president started this, but his spendthrift ways were a joke compared to the current one's. But you don't have to take it from me. Read Forbes or Kiplinger's or the Wall Street Journal, or even from time to times the NYT or the WSJ. Watch CNBC or FBN or Bloomberg. If you or I ran our household economies like the government has been running this country we'd be in jail. So if that makes me a "teabagger," c'est la vie.

But as for the rest, it's ok, don't worry about it. I rarely get political on this page, and I honestly don't know what possessed me to write that caption. I think it was seeing all the Wonder and Hostess products being fire-saled at the grocery store the other day. :)
Reply
:iconunionpacific844:
unionpacific844 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Yeah, sorry about the "teabagger" part. Sometimes when I get political, I also get "irritable" so to speak. So, all that aside, Peace?
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Yes, absolutely. :)
Reply
:iconunionpacific844:
unionpacific844 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
I'm sorry. I didn't me to insult you. I was very frustrated earlier and wasn't thinking clearly. I'm sure you've seen enough to form your own opinions. It just that from what I've seen it's appears to be more on the execuives than the unions.
Also, I don't write for or read Mother Jones or The Nation. I do read the Huffington Post, though.
By the way, I hope you don't mind me asking, but where do you get this info from?
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:iconunionpacific844:
unionpacific844 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Grammer mistake at the end. clicked add comment before finished. my bad
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:iconvogeljz:
vogeljz Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Great skins. Love the image.
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconthe-waking-dream:
The-Waking-Dream Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Aah, this is nice to see! I love the series. ME3 is good but ME2 is easily my favorite; Thane and Mordin have a special place in my gaming heart.
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Mordin singing the Salarian scientist version of the Major General song made me snort Pepsi through my nose. I've not played ME3 yet but I think ME1 was my favorite. I liked a lot of the changes in ME2 but the levels felt more linear and I hated the way it would end most of the missions and send you back to the ship with a load screen. I thought the first one flowed much better and had a more cinematic feel.
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:iconxsakuyachan510x:
xSakuyaChan510x Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very good!^^
:iconyea-plz:
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Thanks :)
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:iconxsakuyachan510x:
xSakuyaChan510x Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Welcome!^^
:iconahehplz:
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:iconmollyfootman:
MollyFootman Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like the costumes a lot, E. As for who is responsible for you having more difficulty meeting junk food quotas in your daily menu that may be a bit more complex, although you used humor pretty effectively to express your opinion. ;)
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Well, they probably did my butt a favor, anyway. :)
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:iconmollyfootman:
MollyFootman Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:giggle: I'm sure :iconaria-warden: would be quick to point that out!
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
You know she would! :p
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:iconamaniwolf:
Amaniwolf Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Double the Space Sexy!
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconrev-mike:
Rev-Mike Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The union workers took pay and benefit cuts while the upper management doubled or tripled their salaries. If anyone gets shot here, it's the management.
Reply
:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Having worked in a couple of jobs where I could observe union and non-union labor doing the exact same work, and having seen the massive difference in competence and productivity between the two, I can happily say that the main silver lining to the Hostess situation is that 18,500 Teamsters and BCTWGMIU "workers" are out of a job. It's also gratifying that the venture capital company that came in to pick Hostess's bones clean, Ripplewood Management, got jobbed in the process.

Yes, the management was greedy and incompetent, too, but like the private equity firm that came in to "help," they saw the handwriting was on the wall and made their own golden parachutes. Given that somewhere over 30% of workers in this country are currently either unemployed or under-employed and a million people would have lined up to apply for those 18,500 jobs for a reasonable wage and benefits package, I'd love to see them all starve to death in the streets over the holidays, along with their families. Unfortunately, the handful of execs are cushioned for life and we'll probably pay the rest of them unemployment benefits for the next two years. They'll probably do about as much work over that period as they did in the last two for Hostess.

Another silver lining is that when Hostess's brands are auctioned off to the highest bidder it's unlikely that many of these "workers" will be re-hired given their proven inefficiency and intractability. Another nice side effect of this is that when some of the brands do come back, I can feel good about buying them knowing my money is going to someone who wants to make and distribute the products. And since some of the brands are bound to be picked up by the world's largest baker, Grupo Bimbo, which is a Mexican company, perhaps the prices will even be lower.

Apparently making cupcakes is one of those "jobs Americans just won't do" these days, and it's a shame to see unions sending more American jobs overseas.
Reply
:iconphilipmessina:
PhilipMessina Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012   General Artist
I did a picture of Dr.Eva Core wearinng a costume like this, it a sexy design and looks good here.
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
These are actually Eva Core uniforms, but I think they must be from ME3 because I don't remember seeing them in ME2. There are two more variants, a kind of armored-looking, techie all-white version and a burned/damaged version of the same. All of the versions also come with a "headed" variant that is a full-mesh avatar just like in the game rather than the headless versions I'm wearing that just let you wear the suit as a costume. It was a really nice gift for a Halloween hunt prize!
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:iconphilipmessina:
PhilipMessina Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012   General Artist
I would love to see the other versions.:)
Yes, they come from ME3 and EDI wears a version as well as Eva.
You were lucky,indeed!:D
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
I'm sure I will get around to using them sometime, they are pretty neat costumes. I'm sure I'll be seeing them in ME3 soon. :)
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:iconphilipmessina:
PhilipMessina Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012   General Artist
:lol:
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:iconharleeneq:
HarleeneQ Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice, may i ask you where did you get that suit?
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
These are the EDI/Dr. Eva Core costumes from 3D Meshiah. They have a shop at the Aftermath II sim.
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:iconharleeneq:
HarleeneQ Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you ^^
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:iconthunderstoat:
thunderstoat Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Love it. And I've often thought that Miranda would make a great chloroformer. Must be the catsuits...
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
I love Miranda, even though she's kind of a bish. I'm a little slow on the uptake so it took me awhile to realize she's modeled after and voiced by the girl from "Chuck," Yvonne Strahovski.
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:iconkittycyberdoll:
KittyCyberDoll Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Great pic and love the outfits!
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconshadowhawkone:
ShadowhawkOne Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ROTFLMAO not only a great artist but a comedian as well! I damn near spewed my Monster all over my computer while ready the whole moon part of the story. Although the American plant has shut down, you do know that you will still be able to get Hostess goodies that will now be imported from Canada. I think it is time to invade Canada now to make them made in America again. :lol:
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Thanks, just having fun with it. I rarely bought their products cause they go straight to my bum, but I did get the occasional box of cupcakes as a guilty pleasure. :)
Reply
:iconshadowhawkone:
ShadowhawkOne Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I kind of caught that and loved the banter, I threw the rest of it in there in case you didn't know that ,but looking at a post further down you are actually very well informed about the subject. It is shame that even during the hardships we are having in this country the execs are still only interested in making all the money they can even at the expense of their employees. what ever happened to loyalty to your employee's? I am trying to find a job in the states and I would have gladly made cupcakes and Twinkies to be home with my family after work and the weekends.

Anyway keep the great images coming and can't wait to see you and Donna do in those outfits next!
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
Well the stories are generally nonsense. It's what I get for making them up without and forethought when I post the pictures. :)
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:iconshadowhawkone:
ShadowhawkOne Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It was off the cuff, that is what made it so funny, it was one of those lets poke fun at something and have a great time renders. I was laughing myself silly on it. I would love to see more of these, when the mood strikes.
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Nothing I do after about 1 AM can be trusted, I get loopy and do ridiculous things. I thought it was fun, too, but I inadvertently offended some people and that wasn't my intent. And I reeeaallly want a Hostess cupcake and a big tall glass of milk right now for some reason. :)
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:iconshadowhawkone:
ShadowhawkOne Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh well can't please everyone all the time. I will be back in the states next week and I was so looking forward to a hostess Lemon pie and a bottle of chocolate milk but I am afraid that won't be an option anymore. Hope to see these two in some kind of peril, either by each others hands or some equally dastardly villainess (you listening Crimson?)
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:iconethereas:
EthereaS Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012
You may get lucky, there is still a little bit of Hostess stuff left at the grocery store I go to, for example. I'm not sure how fresh it is, though. lol
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