Come soil away

A bit from a Lileks Captain Video recap:

Atoma is the planet on which the bad evil but disarmingly casual Tyrant lives. As with most science fiction, the entire planet has one (1) political system. As with 50s science-fiction, it has an science-type name, although “Atoma” is like “Earth,” in the sense that the planet is named after the material it’s made of. I always thought that calling this place “Earth” was like calling it “Dirt.”

He’s not the only one thinking that way. From the Hearth’s Warming Eve pageant, starring Pinkie Pie as Chancellor Puddinghead and Applejack as faithful secretary Smart Cookie:

Pinkie Pie: The air! The trees! The dirt! This dirt is the dirtiest dirt in the whole dirt world!

Applejack: And fertile, too. Perfect for growing food.

Pinkie Pie: In the name of the Earth ponies, I think I’m gonna call this new place … uh … Dirtville.

Applejack: How about “Earth”?

Pinkie Pie: Earth! Congratulations to me for thinking of it.

Don’t even think about Uranus.

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Diagram this

Fimfiction, home of a hundred thousand or so pony stories, including a handful hoofful by me, has a lot of “groups,” which are explained in the site FAQ thusly:

Groups combine the functionality of some of the raddest bits of Fimfiction’s infrastructure. For one, they can be used to find stories that interest you; groups exist for all types of stories. So, if you like adventure stories, enjoy tales of humans in Equestria, or just want to read about cute pony pairings (shipping), there’s a group for you — especially useful if you want to get updates any time a story is added to a group with an idea you particularly like. Groups are also the site’s de facto forum interface — in most groups, any user can create a thread, and you can get notifications sent to you when a new one is created, as well as seeing thread activity on your dashboard. Finally, groups are just an awesome place to meet members of the community — they’re a whole subsection of Fimfiction’s functionality, where users can run events, organize contests, or just hang out.

Two of the stories I’ve written have been selected for inclusion by members of the group called Good Grammar Directory, which disallows stories with three or more syntax errors. (No quality assessment of the actual story is intended or implied.) I was wondering if I should be insufferably pleased with myself, and then I got a look at the group’s logo:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hay now

One regular feature in The Week magazine is called “Best Properties on the Market”; it consists of half a dozen or so very special real-estate offerings on a two-page spread, with a photo or two and listing information. I’ve even gotten blogfodder out of it once or twice.

This week’s collection was titled Equestrian properties.

[heart jumps]

Um, no. No. Not even. No es posible, señor.

Valentine FarmThen again…

You’re looking at Valentine Farm near Norwood, Colorado, and here’s some of the write-up from the listing agent:

Certain properties exude excellence the minute you step foot on them. Valentine Farm defines itself as such a ranch. Comprised of a meticulously renovated turn-of-the-century Barn, two remodeled turn-of-the-century cabins and separate 6-car garage, this idyllic compound overlooks 120 verdant acres including a magnificent 10 stall equestrian center with caretaker residence.

But this is the clincher (emphasis added):

Two generous sized ponds and prolific irrigation create a lush setting and provide perfect conditions for significant hay production.

Well, there you have it. The sellers are asking $4,375,000. Celestia only knows how much that is in bits.

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A generous hardware review

Testing this new notebook with Windows 8 is busy fashion designer and efficiency expert Rarity.

Well, at least it wasn’t the Worst Possible Thing.

(Plucked from an EqD Nightly Roundup.)

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Scrubbing the scribes

On the off-chance that some of you are curious about my none-too-secret side activity, here’s a look at where a lot of it happens:

I’ll vouch for, um, much of that.

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Almost missed a stereotype there

Usually I screen-print Y!A stuff, but this is a bit long and I’d prefer the text to be searchable, Just In Case.

The question: “Is it weird to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?”

Short answer: Maybe. But here’s the rest of it:

I would prefer a woman to answer this.

I am a 21 year old male, but I am not overweight or jobless. I am worried however that it is weird for me to like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I don’t own toys or merchandise from the show. I take it as it is: an entertaining cartoon much like Bugs Bunny or Sponge-bob (before it started to suck). Will women think it’s weird if they find out? I try to hide that part of my life.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I do not obsess about the show or anything. If it is on, I watch it. But I don’t go out looking for a DVD collection.

Not being a woman, I’m not going to answer this poor fellow directly, but I’ll say this much:

(1) I can cite no instance where a woman who might have been interested in me suddenly lost interest after discovering my own involvement with pony — which, in most cases, takes about 45 seconds to a minute.

(2) Buy a plushie. It’s not a guaranteed key to her heart, but you might be able to wedge the door open.

Incidentally, one of the Office Babes (Senior Division) showed up yesterday in a pony T-shirt, and a Generation ThreeMLP:FiM is Generation Four — pony T-shirt, at that. There’s always the possibility that the object of your affections has already been assimilated into the herd.

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The war goes ever on

Mac vs PC

We must remember, of course, that Twilight Sparkle runs Linux.

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My little Bundys

A concoction by *doubleWbrothers called “Married (with Cadence)”:

With Shining Armor as Al Bundy

Pertinent comment left at EqD, not by me:

Instead of scoring 4 touchdowns in one game, Shining can tell the story of how he once tossed his wife against a evil unicorn-cloud-thingy.

I’m sure he has.

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A song to remember me by

Not that I’m going anywhere anytime soon, but I wanted all this on the record.

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Know thine audience

Or at least don’t assume too much about them. I caught this banner last night on Equestria Daily:

Banner ad for Tractor Supply Co as seen on Equestria Daily

I can just see Rarity turning up her nose at such mundane morsels.

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Standing tall-ish

I admit up front that seeing My Little Pony: Equestria Girls was not a priority with me: I didn’t make the trek to Stillwater, the only place in the state where it actually played theatrically, and while I’d pre-ordered the DVD, which arrived last Tuesday, I didn’t watch it until the following Sunday. (Let it be said that this dawdling tactic is not at all unprecedented.) And besides, the basic premise and I did not get along: if I wanted to watch a cartoon about teenage girls, I’d go hunt up reruns of Daria or something.

That said, I must admit, the deponification of ponies went far better than I’d anticipated. I could argue that all these girls — and all but a couple of the boys — looked like they weren’t getting much for lunch, a cafeteria scene to the contrary notwithstanding, and besides, I’ve already seen Mean Girls; but for the most part, the story holds up, the characterizations make sense, and the songs, in MLP:FiM fashion, are ridiculously catchy, even the one I’d vowed to hate. (That would be, um, this one.) My inner 9-year-old girl pronounced herself pleased, though I was put off by a Bonus Item on the DVD in which some Hasbro suit in an Original Penguin shirt declared that they could just as easily do, say, My Little Flounder.

Ultimately, I have to say what I said on Twitter when I’d finished watching it:

It’s like coming home and finding someone painted the house: it looks wonderful, but it’s not something I wanted done.

Season Four, with actual ponies, starts in November. This will have to do for now.

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Tales from the Conversion Bureau

A survey of non-pony fans — I am assured that there are such — yielded these interesting conclusions:

1) Exposing people to episodes of MLP does NOT automatically turn them into Bronies or fans of MLP

2) People who MAY develop into fans DISPLAY a distinct set of characteristics that correspond to a curious, open and less traditional approach to life

To contribute a single data point: two weekends ago, I exposed someone — Future Daughter-in-Law — to an episode. (Specifically: “Call of the Cutie.”) I also pointed out where on Netflix the other 64 episodes could be found (in the obvious place), and noted that I’d actually written some fanfic.

Results: Not clear at this time, though somehow she read the entirety of The Sparkle Chronicles. Based on point 2, however, I am hopeful, if only because I’ve seen her bookshelves, and they rival mine for sheer variety.

(Almost a title explanation.)

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A voice inside my head

From their 2011 Starry Night gala, Vancouver’s Shooting Star Foundation presents singer Rebecca Shoichet:

Rebecca Shoichet on stage

She’s also a member of SideOne, the estimable cover band:

… this band is made up of extremely talented and experienced musicians, and the sets were crafted for the sole purpose of packing a dance floor, while avoiding entirely the typical cover band cheese.

But most of the time when I hear her, it’s something like this:

Except for those last spoken words, which were spoken by, um, someone else.

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A dash of irony

My Little PilotLet’s face it, fighting is serious business, and we must forever remain focused on the mission. Funny stuff is right out.

Or is it?

Like all class patches, the Brony patch for Class 14-05, which is training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., is unofficial and only worn during pilot training, said 1st Lt. Thomas Barger, a spokesman for the 71st Flying Training Wing.

“It was kind of a fluke,” Barger said in an email. “During a slide show presentation while previewing the different patch options, the student presenter threw the ‘My Little Pilot’ patch design into the mix as an ironic joke. That patch made it all the way through the approval process and is even more ironic since the class never really wanted it in the first place. They thought it was so off the wall that it was hilarious. They have embraced the irony and humor of the patch and in so doing have fostered closer ties with each other.”

No matter what the circumstances, you can never have too much pony.

(Sent me by a Texas reader; this also made an EqD Nightly Roundup.)

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Friendship letter, maybe

And so ends my first encounter with the My Little Pony fandom. As Mark Twain said of carrying a cat by the tail, it’s an experience you can get no other way.

Last year’s Silly Filly Con, put on by the same folks, was limited to the locals: 120 maximum, said an official. They may have doubled that this year at Midwest Brony Fest, and not just because the name is, um, less silly.

Good news: Enthusiasm was sky-high; I discovered that there is someone in the fandom older than I am. (Which, believe me, is a relief.)

News slightly less good: Attendance at the writing panels was sparse.

Total blown on merch: $23. (I tiptoed past the triple-digit plushies.) Almost half of that was spent on a print of this slightly derivative work by “braeburned”:

Homage to Magritte

Well, it’s kind of Magritte-y, n’est-ce pas? (Eeyup.)

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Urge overbite

“Sooner or later,” I said, “everything gets ponified.” And to support this premise:

Equestria: A place of safety, friendship, and love. It has faced many threats, ranging from Changelings, Dragons, Windigoes, tyrannical Unicorn dictators, and a particularly mischievous Draconequus, but managed to defeat them all. But now Equestria faces its greatest threat ever: A gigantic tornado filled with killer sharks.

“Hurricane Fluttershy” was never like this.

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CONNNNNNNN!

This is why I didn’t answer your mail/comment/tweet/whatever.

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Later that night

So basically, we have a song James Horner wrote for the Disney film Hocus Pocus, which film he didn’t actually score — he was hired, they’d finished this one song, and then apparently he was booted in favor of John Debney.

Oh, and since it’s a song, it has words, and for some reason, a lot of people think those words were written by Edgar Allan Poe. (They weren’t.)

How this particular mishmash ended up as the background for a particularly lovely My Little Pony video is something I can’t explain, except to the extent that sooner or later, everything gets ponified.

This was done outside Hasbro and is decidedly non-canon. I don’t care. I think it’s wonderful. And as I’ve said before, the fandom is getting to the point where they could sustain the series even if Hasbro junked it.

Speaking of the fandom, I’m pretty much immersed in it this weekend, so I may be filling up a lot of space here with pony. You have been warned.

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A few kind words

Writer/reviewer Not Worthy (presumably a pseudonym) comments on one of my stories:

Overall, Dead Pony Flying is a story that’s not only about last requests, but hanging onto life, and observing how life continues on. Rainbow Dash brings an energy to it while imparting some contemplative thoughts in her final moments, while Scootaloo brings a determination to pay homage to her hero. The story is focused on where it needs to be: the characters, without a crowded setting that wouldn’t fit with this type of story. It’s a technically-sound story that plays around with mortality and death without being too dramatic. It’s a simple slice of life about death that abounds with an appreciation for life.

Which matters to me these days, since Dash is about sixty in this story. You know who else is about sixty? (Of course you do.)

Of all my pony tales, DPF has been arguably the best-received; I keep telling myself that it’s not because it was the shortest.

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Muffin to report

Derpy figure by FunkoShe’s one of the sweetest, kindest mares you could ever hope to know. Just the same, things can go horribly wrong:

I recently bought this vinyl figure put out by Funko. While Amazon reviews warned me of a chemical odor that lingered on in the figures of this line, I still wasn’t prepared for the dizzying wave that flooded my room when I removed the packaging. Although I’m not particularly sensitive to smells, it was enough to suggest to my paranoid mind the possibility of becoming a grotesque news item.

Such as, for instance, this one. (At least I resisted the presumably obvious “Funko” joke.)

Derpy then spent the next twelve hours or so alternately placed by an open window and shut up in a cupboard. Now that I’ve let her air out for a bit it’s not so bad.

I suspect she’s been hitting the ol’ Otis Spunkmeyer in her spare time.

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