Happy Birthday, mxpw!!!

From Crystal: Hiya, mx. :) I know this isn't much, but we (that is, Frea and I) wanted to make your birthday special, and what better way than to splatter the blog with everything Yvonne? Hope you like it! And don't worry, I've got a resized wallpaper version waiting to be sent, just in case you want it as a desktop background. ;)

Seriously, mx, you are the best. Thanks for always being there to chat with me at the most random of times (even 4 in the morning during school, when I'm completely freaking out over papers) and being the most amazing beta reader ever. Kill Bryce just keeps getting better and better with you around to help me. Hope you have an AWESOME birthday, buddy. :)

From Frea: I've already said you're awesome twice, and I meant it both times, but seriously, man, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  HERZLICHEN GLUECK ZUM GEBURTSTAG!   Thank you for being there to hold my hand whenever Fates is being mean to me, and for always making me laugh, and for being so in love with Sarah Walker I have to strive to make her the best I possibly can, and for being the best co-writer I ever had.  You truly do rock, man.  And so does Crystal for making this awesome background.  Also, I heart Yvonne's earrings in that picture.  Random, I know, but there you go.


Crystal and Frea


  1. Sigh. Look at all the pretty...

    Oh man, I can barely concentrate, this new layout is so distracting. It's like you can't help but just...stare. But I can at least say this much, a HUGE thank you to both crystal and Frea for their sublime, stupendously awesome, and amazing redesign of CI. Both of you guys did such a fantastic job with this. And I just love the new layout. Not just because of all the Yvonne pictures, but I love the color scheme and everything. And the banner just rocks.

    It's just all so wonderful and I'm so glad I became friends with you both. You've made this a birthday to remember and my life is better for having met you.

    Thank you, crystal. Thank you, Frea. I hope the rest of you are as appreciative of this change as I am. And if not, well, too bad. It's my birthday. So there. Haha.

  2. Anonymous10.9.10

    Happy Birthday mxpw. I don't like the new layout, for it has too much yvonne but you obviously like it :P

  3. alladinsgenie4u10.9.10

    Wow! What a birthday surprise for mxpw.And the home page rocks - thanks a lot guys.

  4. Anonymous, I worry about your sanity, my friend. Are you feeling okay? How is your blood sugar level? Have you been sleeping right?

    I can't believe anybody would ever say there was such a thing as "too much Yvonne." I swear you hear something new every day...

  5. Anonymous10.9.10

    mxpw,thanks for your concern :P

    I would explain my reason but it's YOUR birthday. So Yvonne worship is THE thing today. So have fun XD

    And Frea,can someone explain me .4 portion of the "2.4 kids" thing? Why .4? Why not .2 or .7? Why not 2 or 3 kids but 2.4 kids? These questions are important.I'm hoping you will see that.

  6. Er, Anonymous, I'm just going to start calling you Sparky because there are a lot of Anonymouses on the blog and I never know who is whom, so if you could just sign your posts "Sparky..." :)

    And the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, golden retriever is a pretty standard "American Dream" joke. The 2000 census actually proved that the average is 1.86 kids for families with children under 18, but then poor little Susie or Timmy would've been the freakshow, not Mickey. And I always felt like Mickey was the freakshow in Fates.

    Not my Aunt Mickey. Either of them. Yes, I have two Aunt Mickeys. Neither of them is a freakshow.

    But Sarah's .4 of a person of a kid would be.

    Just saying.

  7. Sparky10.9.10

    Who am i to refuse Lady Frea especially on the birthday of Awesome mxpw XD

    American Dream needs to be rounded,i think :P

    But this explains the dysfunctional family of Sarah Walker :)

    And i noticed something about your fics,they are all about sexual tension. If your Sarah was a real person,i would feel sorry for her :P

    And as someone who voted for the hayloft scene,this shows me that democracy is flawed.Because now i REALLY wish that i had voted for the Bungalow fic :)

  8. Hee, you're Sparky now. I love it.

    Not rounding out the American dream just makes it funnier. And yes, I do take everything said literally.

    And I wouldn't say all my fics are about sexual tension. Just the ones about Sarah, apparently. And maybe Carina. And Chuck. And Frank. And...

    Damn it. All my fics are about sexual tension!

    Hope you wanting the Bungalow doesn't mean you didn't like the Hayloft. I mean, sure, Sarah doesn't stick her head under the faucet in the Hayloft like she does in the Bungalow, but she did get stuck to Chuck.

    Hee!!! She's stuck on Chuck! Why didn't I think of that before? Oh, this is just awesome. (Do I entertain myself this easily every day? I wish I could tell you the answer is no, but really, if you ask the birthday boy, the answer is a resounding YES)

  9. Sparky10.9.10

    Well,you wanted it. What's a name between 2 unacquainted people on the internet?

    After needling(although good naturedly) you about the progress bar,i wanted to do something to make you go "Hee".

    Hmm,as someone completely anonymous on internet,i would advise against bottling up feeelings. Sarah would do well to release some tension.(And i want to see how that happens! Ulterior motives anyone?)

    I liked Hayloft muchly,thank you. But liking that made me question the wisdom of not choosing Sarah's dilemma in the Bungalow. Should she jump to bed with Chuck? Or not?

    Somehow,i think your Joss love shines through here. Because "getting stuck on Chuck" is something out of his mind. And no, i don't particularly like his mind atm. But don't worry! I like your mind! (At least,little glimpses you let show.)

    Have fun. And please write more. But remember no more than 3 fics at a time. No burning yourself out(Wait a minute,you don't even know me.How can i even try to restrict you? Nerve of those on internet!)

  10. paranoia10.9.10

    Happy birthday mxpw!!!

    Thank you for being so awesome that we are getting more awesome stories from the awesome Frea.

  11. I have really enjoyed how you kept Sarah's emotions for Chuck close to the vest so to speak. Now that you let us know that Sarah's feelings for Chuck, these stories have come out.

    I have really enjoyed these 1 shots, but I am struck at how little I knew about the enigma that is Sarah freekin Walker.

  12. Anonymous10.9.10


    I thought I'd clicked on my Strahotski tab by accident! Um, just kidding, I don't actually have that site on a permanent tab. *cough*

    What a complete surprise and way to go, mxpw, for having a birthday worthy of this effort. To think that your parents produced you solely to culminate in this moment of joy for others - just awesome! ;)

  13. Happy Bday MXPW

  14. I know this is mxpw's b'day present - and he really must be one hell of a guy to inspire gifts like these - but they really are a gift to all of us. I love seeing what goes through Sarah’s mind and the Hayloft was a fun, entertaining look into that subconscious. But Wasted On Us took me totally by surprise. There was so much discovery in those 6,885 words I had to read it a couple of times because I didn’t want to miss anything.

    I could easily repeat all of the points mxpw put in his review, but two things really struck me - vulnerability, Sarah Walker style - and the tangled, complicated mess of insecurity Sarah Walker really is. I think they are so intertwined that I couldn’t untangle them if I wanted to.

    For Sarah to be so affected by Chuck saying: "'if I can hold off the panic attack until Sarah gets here, then I can watch her kick your ass for first attempting to kidnap me, and then actually getting me kidnapped!'" tells me so much about her poor self image. The insights Carina gave us into her friend’s character – “it wasn't the beaten-down-by-life sort of anger she'd seen from Sarah over the past eighteen months” indicates a part of Sarah that Carina thought was lost but now seems to be finding it’s way back to her. Sarah’s insecurity, her brokenness, is evident in the line “before Bryce The Tool Larkin had gotten his claws into her” and left me hoping for more insights in mxpw’s The Bank Job.

    OD is fond of saying that on the show Chuck, the simple answer is usually the one that happens – but you have proven that it isn’t necessarily the right answer. This is a complicated story you are weaving and I’m loving it!

    Oh, and one more thing – you commented above that: “Damn it. All my fics are about sexual tension!” You know, I think the mark of a truly great writer is one that can maintain that sexual tension AFTER the – ahem – initial release.

  15. Anonymous10.9.10

    I mean, sure, Sarah doesn't stick her head under the faucet in the Hayloft like she does in the Bungalow...

    I can't believe no one has commented on this yet!!! Judging by the number of ogling and drooling Frea has hinted in Hayloft, I can't even begin to imagine how Sarah managed to fall asleep in that bungalow.

    And mxpw, happy happy birthday to you!!!

  16. Happy birthday, Maximum Xtreme Power Writer! If I could, I'd totally ship Yvonne over to you. Actually, I'd cuddle with her first and then send her over to you. :) Hope you have an awesome birthday!

  17. I forgot something very important from my post:

    Happy, happy Birthday mxpw! Hope you have many more.

  18. Sparky10.9.10

    Maximum Xtreme Power Writer

    Is that what mxpw stands for? Wow. Good to see that mxpw doesn't lack any confidence :P

  19. I to forgot to wish MXPW a happy birthday. I hope your day continues as well as it started.

  20. Wow, you guys are all so awesome. I woke up this morning (temporarily only, I assure you) and saw that this post had kind of exploded. It made me feel good. I immediately thought: Everybody is talking about me. Yeah! I must be awesome or something! But then I realized: Or are they? Nah, they're probably just drooling--I mean, admiring--the new layout. Imagine my surprise when it was a little bit of both. Hehe.

    I first have to thank everyone here who has wished me happy birthday. crystal and Frea go without saying, of course, even though by saying that, I pretty much just mentioned them, but thank you specifically to dnm, Pete, Tally, Sparky, paranoia (what an appropriate name for a fan of Fates), and zappeej. You guys all rock and so does everybody else here!

    Sparky - Despite your distressing unappreciation for the great goddess named Yvonne Strahovski, I have enjoyed all your comments here. And while yes, I do think I am rather dashing, Maximum Xtreme Power Writer is actually something takeitto22 coined. She thought she was being cute (she was) and wanted to know what mxpw stood for and that's what she suggested. It's kind of stuck around ever since she said it and why not, is it not an awesome name?

    Aardie - It's like my parents knew I was destined for such greatness. You could even say it was...fated?

    Thank you for the comments, and I knew if anybody would appreciate the new design as much as me (or Wep or Tally) it would be you.

    Tally - Thank you. The fact that you would let me have Yvonne after you cuddled her so thoroughly...wow, that almost brings a tear to my eye. *sniffle* You are a true friend.

    zappeej - Now you see why I wanted the Bungalow scene to win. I knew about Sarah being the big drooling pile of lust she is and I wanted to see how she handled walking in on Chuck in the Bungalow. That is not to say what Frea gave us for the Hayloft scene wasn't absolutely fantastic, because it was, but man, the Bungalow scene could have been equally epic.

    Oh, and thanks!

    Pete - Was Wasted on Us just not the most awesome thing ever? It was, wasn't it? I don't know if I'm all that great a guy or if I've just managed to fool Frea and crystal into thinking so, but I'm glad everybody else is able to reap some benefit from my birthday. Who knew this day could actually be this awesome?

    Again, thanks to everyone! Now I'm off to try and go back to sleep.

  21. Ayefah10.9.10

    Happy birthday, mxpw! Thank you for your awesome writing and for keeping the Cabal in betas. Oh, and good night! :P

    (And Sarah stuck her head under the faucet in the Bungalow?! *wanders off to think of ways to bribe Frea into writing that too*)

  22. Use this link for more information Sparky.


    CIA resource:

    USA is actually at a 2.05 reproduction rate from 2010 estimates, but that's probably because of illegal immigrants more then actual citizens.


  23. Sparky10.9.10

    It turns out Sarah Walker is planning on living in either Bhutan or united arab emirates XD

    Thanks for the link BCF!

    And mxpw,"bank job" is intriguing. And i'm not surprised about your sarina fascination anymore :P

  24. Anonymous10.9.10

    My computer broke the other day when I booted up CI. I brought it to the Nerd Herd and they said it was overloaded with, "pure awesomeness and attractiveness." I had to buy a Mac to handle the new CI 2.0. Once I was able to view these updates I could fully appreciate and understand why my POS Toshiba with POS Vista just couldn't handle it. My only suggestion would be to make the font a little bigger. Otherwise, nicely done!

    Happy belated Birthday MX! Sorry this is late, but I'll be late for my own funeral.


  25. Two great stories from the ever expanding fatesverse.

    Sarah really is a mess, isn't she.
    Though if she already was so far gone in the hayloft, I wonder how she's survieved the two months, or what it is, fates has lasted.

    Happy birthday mx. Looking forward to your next installment of bank job.

  26. Happy birthday, dude. Of course, I wrote my own Mx birthday fic, and while it of course paled in comparison to what Crystal and Frea can and did do, but I'm happy you enjoyed it still the same. :)

  27. Sparky - "Hmm,as someone completely anonymous on internet,i would advise against bottling up feeelings. Sarah would do well to release some tension." See What Fates Impose, Chapter 36. :)

    BDaddyDL - Yep, she's an enigma. In the Hayloft, she was a walking pile of nerves, lust, and exhaustion (the latter was so amplified it killed all of her normal reserve, leaving her an utter wreck), and in Wasted, I finally got to point out the anger that propels Sarah through the first fourteen chapters of Fates (she still has a bit of it left for Chuck, as she goes all ice queen on him a couple of hours after Wasted takes place), but Carina did a lot in helping put Sarah's head on straight, and the one thing I like about Carina is that, at the end of the day, she understands Sarah better than anyone even though Carina even outright said she wasn't the introspective sort. :) See what I did there?

    Aardie - Crystal and I were more than happy to help. I have a permanent Strahotski tab, but it's more for making icons for mxpw. That’s my story, I’m sticking to it.

    PeterO – Sarah’s poor mental image is one of my absolute favorite things about her, which, wow, sounds really mean on my part. mxpw and I talk about this a lot, about how kick-ass Fates Sarah has to be, but inside, she’s really no better off than Chuck (the joke is that Sarah keeps all of her freaking out internal, and Chuck keeps all of his external and their neuroses complete each other). She outright says so in Sleeping on the Job when she says, “she was Sarah Walker, she was a mess herself, she had no business being reassuring to anything. But he had nobody else. And ever since Bryce had blown up that godforsaken Intersect room, neither did she.”

    Ayefah put in a review that Chuck’s entire thought process for Hayloft is, “Sarah’s awesome, I’m sleepy,” but I think that’s my favorite part: Fates has trained us to believe Sarah is this awesome naturally (and she kind of is), but these insights into her head prove that she works very, very hard, and she needs a lot of help from people like Carina and Ellie to keep her grounded. Insert your own Sallie joke here, mine is over 600 pages long by this point.

    I’m not sure how much Bank Job is going to answer your questions about Sarah’s brokenness, just to warn you. Sarah is not introspective in an enlightening way: she’s a very physical character, she feels what she feels when she feels it and she’s only introspective enough to save her own life by recognizing spy characteristics in others in dangerous situations. Because she honestly doesn’t recognize that her brokenness is acceptable, she’s never going to look at it in an objective light. Bank Job is more a look at Carina, Sarah’s only friend, through Sarah’s eyes, while Wasted is the reverse. The only way we’re going to get a satisfactory look at what happened with the Bryce situation is if Sarah tells Chuck about it, and he hasn’t asked since Chapter 14, so...Sorry. :)

  28. zappeej - :) Utter exhaustion helped.

    Sparky - That's one theory about the true meaning of mxpw. I'm still clinging to MiXed PraWns. And Sarah will live anywhere, as long as Chuck's there, I think. Dude can't get rid of her that easily (though I will point out that Mickey the Freakshow, Timmy, and Susie were Carina's contribution; Sarah's subconscious gave her four, possibly five, sprogs, so...Kenya?)

    Skibum - as somebody who also owns a crappy Toshiba with even crappier Vista, and a Mac, I heartily approve your decision! Sorry we broke your crappy laptop. :)

    Afa - Yup. Complete and total mess. Keep in mind, everybody, that Sarah is physically exhausted in the Hayloft scene. We all do crazy things when we're tired. Sarah's choice is to drool mindlessly over Chuck's shoulders. Hayloft can really be summed up as thus: "Fire bad, tree pretty."

    Wep - I am so frakking excited about this fic, it's like it's MY birthday, too! *bounces*

  29. Sparky10.9.10

    I was talking about sexual tension :) But i will defer to your judgment on this matter.

    Until one of the duo gets bolder in their pursuit. Either way,it's your game.

    Knock it out of the park XD

  30. Sparky10.9.10

    Hey, i think Sarah was thinking along the lines of "Boy smell good!"

    I'm curious about wep's fic.

  31. Hee, boy's been having periods of flop-sweat for the past 48 hours. Boy does NOT smell good. But then, I didn't want to get into that in the story.

  32. Sparky10.9.10

    After all,love is bli-anosmic!

  33. Ayefah10.9.10

    ...Sparky, marry me.

    Frea: But...but...but...they're in DC! And possibly on the verge of dating! Surely the subject of Bryce will come up eventually?

    (Look at me, being so relentlessly neeeedy. "Write what I want! NOWNOWNOW!" :P)

  34. Ayefah - Damn, you already proposed to somebody? I was gonna set up a nice romantic dinner of hoagies and boxed wine and try to win you over with bunker secrets, but if you're already taken...oh well. Back to stalking Rainn Wilson.

    Also, do you consider conversation about exes first or fourth date material? Inquiring minds want to know. And be careful how you answer, the future of Fates is in your hands... :)

  35. Geez, I fall back asleep, wake up, and there are another dozen comments or so. Wow, you guys are all great (I realize this thing has morphed into more than just a birthday thread, but damn it, I don't care. :P). Thank you to a new crop of well wishers: Ayefah, BDaddyDL, Skibum (no worries, you weren't late!), afa, and Wepdiggy. You guys are all so awesome, or as I prefer it, just so Devon.

    I have tons I could say about Sarah, the Hayloft, and everything, but Frea would probably just yell at me for spilling her secrets, so let me just say this: Chapters 39 and 40 of Fates will answer all your questions and none of them. Or will they? Regardless, you won't want to miss them. Because they plan to be awesome. And oh yeah, somebody's gonna get some action.

  36. Ayefah10.9.10

    Frea, our marriage would unfortunately be illegal where I live, and I'm just not in a position to move states right now. Our love was doomed from the start. :P Sparky, meanwhile, remains of indeterminate gender, so I thought I'd take my chances.

    As to your question: I...don't really have a formula for when exes get talked about. I think you actually have to assemble a certain quantity dating experience before you go making definite romantic timelines for yourself. Heh.

    But I will say this: In canon, Chuck and Sarah talked about their exes on their first date, and Chuck knew Bryce was Sarah's boyfriend by the fourth episode. I don't think even the emboldened 'Fates' Chuck would bring Bryce up in an interrogatory manner out of the blue, but let's face it - there are lots of ways for that bugger Larkin to turn up in a conversation when he's also stalking Chuck and the subject of one of Prometheus' missions.

    Right now, Chuck is just coming to terms with the fact that his ex not only betrayed him, but betrayed the government he gave up years of his life to serve. Sarah might know something about what it feels like when someone you love (and I do think she has the "band of brothers"-type love for Bryce) betrays you and your government at a stroke.

    And since she's seen Chuck at his ex-related worst, stalking Jill creepily for weeks, it wouldn't make Sarah totally vulnerable to tell him about her worst times with Bryce. Though honestly, I don't know how Chuck's brain would deal with her saying that she pretty much tossed Bryce aside because she fell for Chuck within hours of meeting him.


    Wait a minute. Why would you listen to a word I say? I don't know diddly-squat about storytelling; do what feels right to you.

  37. Ayefah, I guess we'll just have to pine away until the law allows our love to be real. Until then, I'll cheat horribly on you by watching a certain scene from "Final Exam" with the sound off.

    Yeah, Bryce is a bit like the elephant in the room right now, isn't he? Only problem is, he's one of many elephants. It's like a zoo wherever Chuck and Sarah go. I was listing all of the different things Chuck is going through as I was writing 38, and daaaaaaamn. Sarah doesn't need to add to the brain melty properties by telling him just how much she likes him. The fact that she likes him at all is puzzling him enough.

    Sounds like I'm setting up issues for later on down the road, doesn't it? Dang, at this point if Bryce shows up, Sarah might just shoot him to avoid adding to Chuck's multitude of neuroses. Nobody told her it doesn't really work that way, but spy logic is a beautiful thing.

  38. Anonymous10.9.10

    Happy Birthday mxpw! Hope it's been a fabulous day for you. Best of luck

  39. Ayefah10.9.10

    Until then, I'll cheat horribly on you by watching a certain scene from "Final Exam" with the sound off.

    Can't blame you there.

    *ponders* Chuck does have a lot to mentally get through right now, doesn't he?

    1. He killed a guy
    2. Sarah likes him(!)
    3. He almost got the whole team killed with the stalking and cell phone stealing.
    4. Jill is Fulcrum.
    5. His cover might be blown and all the members of Prometheus have to hide in D.C. now.
    6. Which makes him a burden on Gwen.
    7. His superiors seem to be a hair away from locking him in a bunker again.
    8. He was inches from getting shot in the head.
    9. He saw Jill get shot in front of him.
    10. He made Sarah cry.

    ...Yeah, Bryce is probably the last thing on his mind right now. Heh. I concede the point, madam. And I never really thought Bryce would show up right now - he'd have to be the dumbass supreme to try sneaking around a town as full of spooks as D.C. (He's totally going to show now, isn't he? My predictions tend to work like that...)

  40. Sparky11.9.10

    Hm,when i wrote here, i wasn't expecting any kind of commitment.
    Ayefah, can't we date first? Get to know each other? However it's nice to see that one is appreciated!

    mxpw,sorry i stole your thunder by being proposed but still yvonne pictures will see you through :P

    BTW,i'm in the "i have a pulse" category concerning Sarah Walker. So i don't think law will be a problem for us, Ayefah.(Can i call you sweetheart?Or is that too forward?)

  41. Anonymous11.9.10

    That is not to say what Frea gave us for the Hayloft scene wasn't absolutely fantastic, because it was, but man, the Bungalow scene could have been equally epic.

    Truer words have never been spoken mxpw! I'm really curious as well as to how Sarah must have reacted after seeing that battered picture of Jill on the nightstand, PLUS, Chuck spooning her probably in the middle of the night. Hmm...

    No chance of asking that epic Bungalow scene as an early Christmas present from Frea, mxpw? :D


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