Monday, December 30, 2013

Episode Talk: S4E7, Bats!

Today's post was going to be my next fanfic review.  I had the header all typed up, even.  It was going to say, "I don't have anything to say about the newest episode, because I couldn't think of a single thing I liked about it."

But dangit, I do want to say a few things about it.  Also, I eventually realized there was one thing that I liked about the episode (one thing specific to this episode, that is--any praise which could apply to every episode of MLP I'm taking as a given).  So, click down below the break if you want some slightly after-the-fact Bats!-themed venting.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 27: The Golden Armor

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Benman wrote a story for me yesterday; a 700-word vignette about Carrot Top being home for the holidays.  Check it out if you need something short and sweet to top off your Christmas week.

If you need something a bit more substantial, though, today's review is of a novel-length tale.  Is Comet Burst's The Golden Armor one to read?  Click down below the break for my thoughts.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Much as I manage to unironically enjoy MLP despite all the attendant baggage which the franchise brings--something many of you can relate to, I'm sure--I truly, sincerely love Christmas.  It's easy to get lost in the maze of commercialism, politicization, and smarm that comes with the season, but what Christmas means to me is being with the people you love, and letting them know just how much you love them.  As corny as it sounds, I know of nothing that feels--that is--better.  Those are things you should do year-round, sure, but they're also easy to lose sight of.  Christmas is my chance to remember.

So I'm taking the holiday off.  This ought to go up on Tuesday, and is taking the place of the regular Monday and Wednesday posts.  I'll be back to my regular schedule come Friday, but I'm going to spend Christmas eating cookies, drinking eggnog, caroling, roasting marshmallows on an open fire (far better than chestnuts), and being with my family and friends.

Merry Christmas, everyone.  And remember: if you love someone, take the time to tell them.  Even if it's corny, even if they already know, even if they "don't need to hear it."  It's always the right thing to say.

Friday, December 20, 2013

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 11)

A.k.a. "Chris is coming down with a cold, so here's something to keep you off the streets over the weekend while he cuddles up under his electric blanket which, sadly, doesn't go to 11 like it really ought to."  Below the break, as always.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 26: Daring DONE!

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

In my bout of angsty apathy on Monday, I failed to say anything about the newest episode, Flight to the Finish.  Honestly, I didn't care for it.  The song was underwhelming by FiM standards; it leaned far more towards the "teen pop" side of composition than usual (between this and the Babs Seed song in season two, I wonder if the CMC haven't been consciously delegated this role), and the tune outside of the chorus was so unmemorable and un-catchy that I can't actually recall how it goes, even after seeing the episode twice.  Beyond that, there were a few things I enjoyed about the episode (Carrot Top and her boyfriend at the train station remains adorable; Silver Spoon explicitly acknowledging how little the show writers have done with her and Diamond Tiara ("But how do we stop them? We already called them blank flanks!") was great; I do think that making it clear that Scoot can't fly, and that this is, at least, unusual, adds to her character).  But, between the stroke Ms. Harshwhinney was apparently having (there is a point at which goofy faces stop being cute and start being annoying, and this season has already dashed that line to smithereens), Dash's inner monologuing (that felt forced; for goodness' sake, just have her say the lines sotto voce if you need them that bad), and the fact that I've just never gotten on board with the CMC to the degree that the rest of the fandom seems to have, this one wasn't one of my favorites.  Oh well, they can't all be great.

ANYWAY, click on below the break for my review of Aragon's Daring DONE!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Few Thoughts about The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

...So, if you're interested in some grumping, some self-pitying, a little bit about the newest Hunger Games movie, and my patented brand of semi-coherence, you can find it below the break.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 24

I've recently picked my on-again-off-again dalliance with online poker up once more, and I'd just like to say that there's a special place in hell for the *cough*holes who go all in on the first hand of a tournament, double (or more often, quadruple) up, and then turn on auto-folding and leave the table, hoping for their stack to last through enough blinds to get them a payout.  

Don't be those people.

Anyway, mini-reviews below the break!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Several things which add up to one post

At least, that's how I'm counting them.


1)  I was introduced to another site which does fanfic reviews yesterday!  The City of Doors posts irregularly, averaging 1-3 posts a week and reviews mostly MLP fanfiction, along with some original fiction and D&D-related material.  The reviews are mostly concise, and balance observations and personal impressions.  Personally, I found them very readable in their own right, and the page is definitely worth checking out.  I've added it to the links page, but if you're looking for some reviews to tide you over until Friday, you should make a point to go see what Griffin has to offer.

2)  Just a friendly reminder: if you didn't get an advent calendar in November like the punctual and forward-looking person you no doubt are, you can probably get for, like, half-off right now.  Plus, you get to eat the first ten days worth of sweets all at once!

I'm not saying you have to celebrate Christmas, and certainly not that you have to do it with an advent calender.  I'm just saying that any holiday tradition which revolves around waking up and immediately shoving a piece of chocolate into your mouth is one I can get behind.

3)  I lost my fantasy football league again.  I know, nobody cares, but I've got to vent to somebody.

4)  Back on nominal blog topic, to wit, ponies: What's the deal with all the video reviews of episodes that have been popping up on Equestria Daily lately?  I haven't ever watched one of these, so I'm really clueless as to the appeal here.  Is this something that's this prevalent in other TV-based fandoms?  Why are they all so long?  Seriously, it seems like half are 8-12 minutes long, and the other half are longer than the episode they're analyzing (all numbers pulled straight from my nether regions, I admit, but that's my impression).  Maybe some of these are really impressive or allow viewers to appreciate the show on a whole new level, but I'm thoroughly flummoxed by the way so many seem to have sprouted up.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 25: Friendship is Optimal

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

The next time someone asks me why I tend to prefer slice-of-life/problem-of-the-week episodes to epic adventure/worldbuilding ones, Daring Don't is going to be my exhibit A.  While I really liked some of the interplay between Dash and Doo (and Dash and Twilight--arguing arcana while the "normals" look on in bemusement was great), throwing Ahuizotl and company into "real Equestria" not only makes for a poor thematic fit, but introduces a whole bunch of questions without any really good answers.  I was still able to enjoy the episode (indeed, it exceeded my expectations--if only because the teaser image of Dash and company jumping into a book had me expecting even less sensical happenings), but I liked Daring Doo a lot better when she was an Indiana Jones parody, and not a "real" character.

Anyway, click on down below the break for my review of Iceman's Friendship is Optimal.

Friday, December 6, 2013


The title of this blog post notwithstanding, this is the slightly-delayed how-and-why-it-was-written followup to my new story, To Make a Spark.  If you haven't read that yet, I urge you to go check it out before diving into this post--I'd rather you read the story before you read this, all things being equal.  But, if you're ready for a little authorial explicating and blog title accounting-for, click down below the break.

I'll warn you, though--it's a long one!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A New Story from Me

The tale of Cadence's ascension to alicornhood.

That's right: almost a year after my last published fanfic (and after multiple "it's almost ready" false starts), I put a new story out yesterday.

I have quite a bit to say about the writing of this story, and I'll put it all into a big post on Friday... but for multiple reasons, I'd really prefer for you to read it before reading about it, in this case.  Well, for those of you who intend to read it at all, anyway; I can't exactly force you all to want to give it a look.

Still, if you do check it out, I'd love to hear what you have to think in the comments, here or on FIMFiction.  Feedback--positive, negative, or otherwise--is always welcome.  I hope you all enjoy!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 24: Distorted Perspective

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Read my review of Vimbert the Unimpressive's Distorted Perspective, below the break.

...What?  Let's see you write pithy intros three times a week.  Today, we're going in cold!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 23

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!  I can't say with any certainty, seeing as I wrote this in advance, but I'm going to assume I did/will.  I'll be with my family, which is always a good start.  Plus, I don't have to cook, and I'm not one to turn up my nose at a feast which requires basically no effort on my part.

If you need a story or two to get you through the weekend, though, click down below the break to see what I've stumbled across lately.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 23: Hiccups

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

As a matter of both district policy and common sense, I try to be very careful about what information I publicly share about students I work with.  I think it's safe for me to reveal, however, that yesterday I had the opportunity to read a creative writing piece titled "Booger Boy vs. Boring Guy vs. Batman."  Honestly, it wasn't half-bad--I liked it better than the typical "[pony] [verb]s a [noun]" stories which are so prevalent in fanfiction, at any rate.  Then again, that may just be a product of expectations.

Anyway, and on a (thankfully) unrelated note, my review of shortskirtsandexplosions' Hiccups, after the break.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Episode Talk: S4E1-2, Princess Twilight Sparkle

Hey, remember that show that all these fanfics are based on?  Apparently they're still making new episodes!  Who knew?

Anyway, I went ahead and checked out the premier of the fourth season and, finding I had some things to say about it, decided to say them.  Click down below the break for my thoughts.

P.S.  Since it's been a while since the last one of these, a reminder: this isn't intended as a summary of the episode itself, nor is it in any way comprehensive.  It's just a few of my thoughts after watching the new episode and having a day or two to digest it.  Expect nothing more nor less.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 22: Somewhere Only We Know

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I started watching the new Bladerunner ripoff original science-fiction TV series Almost Human a couple of days ago.  It really drags in places, but it did enough to engender my goodwill that I'll probably stick with it at least a bit longer.

Okay, mostly I just thought the testicles bit was the most hilariously awkward (intentionally so, anyway) thing I've seen on TV in years.  What can I say?  Sometimes, the lowest common denominator is all right.

Let's (hopefully) move away from "lowest common denominator" with the review, though.  My thoughts on PatchworkPoltergeist's Somewhere Only We Know, below the break.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 21: This Nearly Was Mine

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Okay, here we go!  My review of BillyColt's This Nearly was Mine, below the break.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Schedule Update

The last week has been pretty busy for me, and I'm battling a cold.  So, tomorrow's post will be a little late, probably in the 8-16 hours late range.  It'll still be there tomorrow, though, and that's what counts, right?

Also, I'm going to go check some of the comments from the last few days that I haven't made the time to read through yet.  Sorry about being even less responsive than usual--my excuse is "a potent cocktail of busyness, illness, forgetfulness, and poor time management skills."

Actually, that's a pretty apt description of my life in general.  A bit on the cynical side, maybe, but what it lacks in positivism I think it makes up in evocativeness.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 22

A short one this time.  You all know the routine; click down below the break for some short reviews of short fanfics.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 20: Bureaucracy is Magic

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

AKA: the post where Chris experiments with a dozen different ways to spell "bureaucracy" while writing the review, only for spellcheck to deliver the red squiggly line of opprobrium after each and every attempt.  Sure, I could just let the machine fix it for me (or, you know, refer back to the title of the fic), but that would be admitting defeat!  No, I'll keep moving vowels around until I stumble upon the correct spelling by accident, thank you very much.  Review-y goodness below the break, as always.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Comment and a Question

As the title suggests, this post has two parts.  First, the comment (preceded by the context, because without context you'd just have mm - tx, assuming my algebraic skills haven't abandoned me):

Several commenters have informed me that the epilogue of the just-reviewed Of Mares and Magic was written in response to a bunch of readers expressing displeasure at the way the Trixie/Twilight romance resolved in the "original" ending, presumably in a completely measured and reasonable manner.  Assuming that's the case, I'd like to present it as evidence of a maxim I make use of when discussing author/editor dynamics: committees are good for many things, but creative writing is not one of them.

Speaking of snogging, on to the question (again preceded by the context, because I have a compulsive need to bury my questions behind multiple paragraphs): I've had several Mature (sex) stories recommended to me to review, most notably Romance Reports.  In fact, I've had that one recommended to me by three different people, now--two of whom began their recommendations with a variant of "I know you don't like pony sex, but..."

Let me make clear: I have absolutely no interest in pony erotica.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean I would refuse to read anything with adult content in it.  At bare minimum, however, I would be looking for two things in such a story: is there a story here beyond the porn, and is the sexual material important to the story (i.e. would this story be as strong or stronger if all sexual content was edited out or replaced with a (literal or metaphorical) fade to black)?  Without the former, there's nothing but purposeless porn (not really something I could review in a useful way, even if I wanted to), and without the latter... well, that's as much a form of purposeless porn as the former, isn't it?

So, with that in mind, can some of you who've read Romance Reports suggest whether it would be something I should consider reviewing?  And more broadly, are "those kinds of stories," as the marms would put it, something you all think I should be reading and reviewing at all, both from the standpoint of my edification and your interest?

Just to be clear, this isn't a vote; I'm interested in getting some opinions as I decide whether or not RR and Mature(sex) stories generally are something that I should consider letting onto the to-read list.  If you've got any thoughts, for or against, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 19: Of Mares and Magic

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Just a note to those of you wondering about Silent Ponyville 3 and why it hasn't been reviewed yet: although the story is "complete," I figured I'd wait until the alternate endings were done as well, since they've been a consistent (and, I thought, kind of neat) feature of the previous stories.  There's at least one side story I'll be hitting up along with it, but in the meantime I don't want you to think I'm blowing y'all off.  On a related note, I've been delaying on reviewing Dresden Gets Schooled because it's an Equestria Girls spinoff, and I'm still dragging my feet on seeing that, but I'll get to it eventually.  Just in case you were wondering why there were finished 6-star stories (well, sequels) that weren't getting reviewed!

For now, though, you can head below the break and check out my review of GanonFLCL's Of Mares and Magic.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Author Expectations and Reader Reactions

This ramble is even more rambley than usual; just a heads-up to any of you expecting my usual hyper-coherence (pah).  But I was discussing the occasional (okay, frequent) dissonance between how authors view their body of work, and how their readers do, and there were a few things I wanted to say about that as regards fanfiction.  My thoughts, below the break.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 21

Tuesday, I woke up before my alarm--not an unusual thing, in and of itself.  I felt pretty well-rested, too, and I got dressed and started fixing myself breakfast.  Then I glanced at the clock, and saw that it was 2:20 am.

So I went back to bed and, of course, felt like an absolute wreck when my alarm dutifully woke me up a few hours later.

Anyway, the fact that my body's playing practical jokes on me hasn't stopped me from reading a few fanfics that aren't on my "reading list," as it were.  Click down below the break for some short-form reviewmanship.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 18: Variables

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

The end of daylight savings may be my least-favorite time of year.  Dang it, I don't want to give back that hour of daylight!  I've got few enough as it is!  The fact that it'll be returned to me in a few months is some comfort, but it doesn't do much for me now.

Speaking of nows, now would be a fine time to click down below the break and check out my review of The Descendant's Variables.

Friday, November 1, 2013

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (part 11)

I hope all of you have a Friday free of sugar crashes and/or hangovers, depending on your age (One Man's Pony Ramblings does not endorse underage drinking.  It does, however, advocate consuming candy and/or booze in safe, responsible, and legal ways).  And now that you've got the partying out of your system, how about discussing some books?  Down below the break, as always.

P.S.  There was totally a girl rocking a Fluttershy costume at work!  Made my day, it did.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 17: Whom the Princesses Would Destroy

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I'm having problems with the squirrels in the backyard, lately.  See, I put out an ear of corn on a tree spike every day for them, and in exchange they come eat it and wrestle each other for control of the ear and are generally adorable.  But lately (and they do this every year, around this time), they've started pulling out the kernels, just eating the very inner tip (the white part), and dropping the rest on the ground.  So after a few days, I come out and there's, like, a pound of barely-eaten corn kernels in a pile at the foot of the tree.

I tried not feeding them for a few days, on the theory that desperation would teach them not to get all picky with their food, but they retaliated by refusing to come be entertaining for me.  Long story short, I caved first.  But that doesn't mean I'm happy about it.

ANYWAY... click below the break for my review of GhostOfHeraclitus's Whom the Princesses Would Destroy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Lesson in Procrastination

I want to start by saying that I had plenty of time to read and review Whom the Princesses Would Destroy this weekend.  The problem was, I knew I had plenty of time, so I kept putting it off.  On Saturday, I said to myself, "I've got nothing planned on Sunday, I'll do it then."  On Sunday morning, I said, "I've got nothing planned this afternoon, I'll do it then."

Then Sunday afternoon came, and I suddenly discovered that I didn't have quite as much free time as I thought I did.  In fact, it wasn't until just a few hours before post time that I got back home, story unread and review un-prepared.  Oops.

Anyway, the moral of the story is: don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  A moral which I'm reasonably certain has never been used anywhere else prior to this.  And in that vein, I plan to get started on Princesses tonight and finish the review tomorrow, so that it's ready with time to spare for Wednesday.  And after that, hopefully I can get back to having a one- or two-post buffer.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 20: EqD Nightmare Night Contest Edition!

Earlier this week, Equestria Daily posted the five finalists for their Nightmare Night 2013: Spooky Harder event.  I have now read each of them and voted for my favorite, and you should, too!

...Unless you don't have time to wade through 35,000 words this week, or you just aren't interested in reading five Halloween non-holiday-specific spooky-themed fics, or you've stumbled onto this post some distant day in the future, and the vote's been over for weeks, months, or even years.  In any of those cases, allow me to offer my patented brand of mini-reviewership, below the break.

A note before we begin, though: I've done my best not to spoil the endings; suffice to say, there are both uppers and downers in this bunch.  Collectively, I'm referring to the ultimate moment where the fic establishes that it will have a "good" or "bad" ending as "the reveal" for purposes of this post, terminological accuracy be damned..

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 16: Princess Celestia Hates Tea

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

In case you aren't in the habit of obsessively checking every few days, I suppose I should mention that I added four new stories to the upcoming Fandom Classics list over the weekend (you can get to the list from the "Fandom Classics by Star Rating" link at the top of the page).  Once I knock another four or five stories off, I'll update it again!  As always, you can e-mail me with any suggestions, and I'll continue to draw on previous recommendations as well.

For now though, click below the break for my review of Skywriter's Princess Celestia Hates Tea.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 15: My Roommate is a Vampire

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Although I didn't plan it that way, it seems appropriate to review a vampire fic as we approach Halloween.  Go me!  Then go below the break, to see what I thought of My Roommate is a Vampire, by Dennis the Menace.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gradually Crawling into the Twenty-First Century

Although I'm not aggressively luddidic, it would also be fair to say that I'm not usually on the cutting edge of technological advances.  I tend to learn how to use something well enough for my purposes, and then just sort of stick with it... forever.

With that in mind, is it any shock that, until yesterday, I was still using a computer which I got in 2004?  A computer which was, even at the time, considered nothing more than an affordable starter computer?  A computer which was, frankly, incapable of doing more than the most basic of computer-related activities?

Well, that's all changed as of Thursday.  My parents, clearly well aware that I would continue to clunk along on this dinosaur of a PC indefinitely if they didn't act, splurged and bought me a new laptop as a birthday/Christmas/every other gift-giving occasion for the rest of the year present.  I've got 6 GB of RAM to play with now, baby!  I'm not entirely sure what that means, other than "faster," but compared to the 512 MB I was previously running on, it's supposed to be a major upgrade.  I'll finally be able to watch videos on my computer without first disabling any other programs!  If I ever decided I wanted to get into some of these "computerized games" that are all the rage, it would be my skills and interest level that would stop me, instead of an inability to run the games in the first place!

Anyway, I'm pretty excited.  So I hope you'll forgive me if I spend the weekend getting this thing set up and figuring out how to use Windows 8.  Then on Monday, I'll have a review delivered, for the first time ever, via a computing device that... well, it's not some souped-up gamer station, it's true.  But it's also not a decade old, and for me?  That's awesome.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 19

Welp, I don't know what it's like where you all live, but we've skipped straight past autumn and on to winter over here.  I'm getting out the electric blanket tonight, and I wish I'd thought to yesterday.

But you didn't come here to listen to me complain about how cold it is (too), right?  No, you came here for fanfic reviews.  Get several short ones, after the break.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 14: A Candle to the Sun

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Ooh, I like the cover art for this one!  Shame the artist seems to have deleted it--I'd have liked to take a look at a higher-resolution version of the image.  Oh, well.

Now that you know what I think about the picture, click below the break to check my review of the actual story: Moabit's A Candle to the Sun.

Friday, October 11, 2013

An Old Thing Passes, and a New Thing Arises

I imagine this will be old news to most of you by now, but if you haven't heard, today marks the end of the Pony Fiction Vault.  Never fear, the site itself isn't going anywhere, but today is the last day it will update.  RBDash47 has done more than 100 author interviews, and I'm pretty sure I've read every single one; rare is the author who didn't have something interesting to say.

Now, to that new thing: today also marks the first story feature/author interview for The Royal Canterlot Library, a site which Benman, Horizon, Present Perfect, Vimbert, and I (all reader/writer/reviewer types, if you don't recognize the names) have put together to find, promote, and offer author-guided insight into the best fanfics around--and a spiritual successor to RBDash's site.  Like the PFV, the RCL is primarily author interviews; one big difference is that we'll be asking authors specific questions about the stories which we're featuring, in addition to some more generic questions.  Having already gotten to read the first posts we'll be putting up, let me tell you: there's some stuff in these first few interviews you're going to want to read.

If you would, head on over to the PFV and give RBDash some love, if you haven't already; between the interviews and the story formatting he's done, he's provided an incredible service to the ponyfiction community over the past years.  And once you've done that, drop by the RCL.  The Vault may be closing, but the Library is just getting started.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fanfic Classics Part 13: Brony Hero of Equestria

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Although the official line is still "we're working on it," it looks and sounds like all the Blogger-era comments on Equestria Daily are dead and gone for good.  That kind of upsets me; while I realize that nothing on the internet is permanent, there were lots of comments on my older stories there that I wish hadn't vanished into the e-ether, and (although I'm sure it's been a year or more since anyone looked at any of them) it's sad to think that my own comments and reviews from back then are gone as well.

With that as context: does anyone know an easy way for me to back up my blog, including all the comments?  I don't expect anything to happen to this place anytime soon, but I'd feel better if I had some insurance against the vagaries of fate and/or obsolescence.

Now, with all the business out of the way, let's turn to a review of something which is the precise antithesis of "serious."  Click below the break for Blueshift's Brony Hero of Equestria.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 18

(insert lead-in here)

(no, seriously, I had to insert it after forgetting to write one up when I first posted this)

(reviews below the break)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Between Discerning and Closed-Minded

If you read Wednesday's review, you'll recall that I liked the story I read a whole lot better than I thought I would.  Nothing wrong with that; there've been plenty of other stories which I've reviewed (here and elsewhere) which I liked significantly more or less than I thought I would.  But it did get me thinking about what an appropriate level of pre-judgement is when it comes to reading, fanfic or otherwise--as I also said in that review, I never would have read Pipsqueak's Day Off were I not planning to write a review of it.  Click down below the break for my thoughts on the line between reasonable and unreasonable pre-reading discrimination.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 12: Pipsqueak's Day Off

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Hockey's back!  By the time you read this, it'll already be too late to catch Tuesday's Chicago/Washington opener.  Don't worry, you've still got 81 chances to watch a game or two before the playoffs.  If you're looking for something to do in the meantime, click down below the break for my review of Chuckfinley's Pipsqueak's Day Off.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 11: The Archer and the Smith

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I don't really have any opinion about the upcoming fifth edition of D&D; as a DM, I'm still perfectly happy with the original AD&D books, and as a player, I figure it doesn't really matter what the system used is.  A good DM's gonna make it his or her own no matter what, right?

I will say, though, that I've got a bit of a twitch after hearing that Kender will be an available race in 5e.  They were one of the worst things to happen in 2e; why on earth would you bring back a race composed entirely of kleptomaniac halflings whom you're somehow not supposed to get mad at when they steal your stuff?

Below the break, my review of Sharaloth's The Archer and the Smith.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 17

Some of you might not know this, but I like to read fanfiction every now and then.  I know, I know, shocking.  Sometimes, I even read fanfics which aren't on my "to be reviewed" list, and (being me) I have opinions about them, too.  Here are a few recent (or recent-ish) fics I've come across, along with a few brief thoughts of mine about them.  Check them out below the break!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 10: The Combinatorics Project

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I feel that, to the greatest extent possible, children should be encouraged to read.  I feel that this applies even when the content of the books they chose to read would be considered excessively graphic, violent, or sexual for children their age were it present in another medium (video games or movies, for example).  Relatively young children reading, say, Ender's Game or Lord of the Flies doesn't bother me at all; on the contrary, it makes me glad to see that they're reading for pleasure, and I hope that experiencing a book with themes that they might not be ready to process helps them to grow as readers and as people.

That said, I was more than slightly disturbed when I saw a 12 year-old toting around 50 Shades of Grey today.

Once you scrub your mind of that image, head down below the break for my review of Ringcaat's The Combinatorics Project.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Corned Beef Dinner Isn't Easy To Share Over the Internet, or I'd Give You All a Slice

I just got back into town after a weekend with the family, and don't have anything post-worthy to, um, post.  Reviews return Wednesday!

Until then, maybe go watch What Does the Fox Say a few more times.  I saw it for the first time Friday, and even past the sheer comic weirdness, I have to give it props for being catchy as all get-out.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 9: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I've been having fun--for a particularly OCD definition of "fun," anyway--watching the "fandom classics" tag climb up the category list on the right-hand side of the blog.  It's right behind "episode talk" and "actual books" and gaining fast!

..."6-star reviews" looks like it'll stay in the top spot for a good long while, though.  Anyway, click below the break for my review of Wynneception's Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 10)

I don't know if it still counts as "for a change" if I've done it ten times now, but I thought I'd take a short break to look at the non-pony reading I've been doing lately.  As always, I've grabbed all the books I'm actively reading at this moment, the better to provide a cross-section of my literary preferences, and am offering my thought on them (up through however far into them I am, anyway).  Click down below the break to see what I'm looking at these days, and what my opinion is.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 8: Smoke and Mirrors

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

So apparently, "dialog" is now an accepted alternate spelling of "dialogue."  When, exactly, did this happen?  I thought "dialog" was reserved for computer-enabled exchanges ("dialog box" and the like), and that using it to refer to people speaking was right up there with spelling through "thru."  But it seems that my view is now a minority one, even among grammarians.

Doesn't mean I have to like it, though.

Click below the break for my review of TeaPartyCannon's Smoke and Mirrors.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Have Some Pony Stuff to Keep You Busy Over the Weekend

It's been a while since I did a non-fanfic compilation post, hasn't it?  I used to put these up every now and again when I didn't have a review ready to go... not that I don't have a review ready to go!  It's, uh, right over here.  No, you can't see it.  Right now it's sleeping.  Maybe on Monday.

However, I do have a few links for you to peruse as you idle away your weekend (what are weekends for, if not idling?).  Click down below the break for some pony gameage, blogage, and me-age to keep you busy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 16

Not every review can be filled brim-full the incisive, piercing clarity which I bring to my longer-form musings on fanfiction (read however much sarcasm into that sentence you see fit).  Sometimes, time, circumstances, and interest dictate a more casual overview.  This is one such time.  Click down below the break for my thoughts on a few stories which I recently read.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 7: "For I Am A Jelly God"

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Whenever someone tells me that they only need five hours of sleep a night, I am consumed with jealousy.  I mean, I need seven just to function--how nice must it be to have two to four extra hours every day?  It may not be a superpower on par with flight or telekinesis, but I'd still take it.

Below the break, my review of Posh's quotation mark-bedecked "For I am a Jelly God."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 6: The Glass Blower

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Welcome to beginning of NFL season!  For the next few months, those of you who are fans can enjoy the return of the game, while those of you who aren't can suffer.  And of course, with the start of the season comes the return of fantasy football, and my yearly donation to people who have a better understanding of the phrase "regression to the mean" than I do.  I also went ahead and signed up for a free Pick the Winners league for ponyfans; I'll let you know if my team, [insert pony pun here], does anything worth mentioning.  Spoiler alert: they won't.

But enough sports-y stuff.  Head on down below the break for my review of Cold in Gardez's The Glass Blower.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 5: Arddun Lleuad

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Sorry for the missed update on Monday, guys.  I spent my weekend getting prepped for the first day of school on Tuesday, and since my task hierarchy places "job" second only to family, ponyfic reviewing got the shaft this time.  If it's any consolation, there's something I've been working on for a while now which is achingly close to completion (read: still probably, like, a month away).  More to look forward to, if you look forward to me doing stuff.  But for now, click down below the break for a smaller installment of my stuff, to wit: my review of Pride's Arddun Lleuad.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 4: (A) Drop of Moonshine

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Hmm, nothing interesting's coming to mind to write up here.  Uh... I went to an Indian buffet yesterday?  That was nice.  Oh, I came in first in an 80-person online bridge tournament!  Granted, it was a free-to-play tourney that most players don't take very seriously, and I won mostly by luck... still, first time that's happened.

Man, I dunno; I've got to get a more interesting life.

Below the break, my review of Pen Stroke's (A) Drop of Moonshine.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Couple of Things to Read

As the title implies, this post contains... a couple of things to read.  One fanfiction, one science fiction; both of them stories I read on Tuesday afternoon, and both of which I felt would merit mention here.  Given the range between them stylistically, thematically, and really in just about everything, I'd say there's a fair chance you'll find at least one of the two might be of some interest.

Click down below the break to see my thoughts on both!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 15

Brevity is the soul of wit, they say.  If that's the case, you'll no doubt find the reviews herein far wittier than my longer-form reviews.  Though by that measure, I've still got nothing on "nice story, mate."  Anyway, all the short-form review goodness, below the break.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 3: White Box

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

While doing a little cleaning today, I came across a character sheet for one of my players from a long-past campaign.  Not a surprise in and of itself; I can never bring myself to throw those things away, for some reason.  The sheet itself wasn't that interesting, either; a fairly typical fighter-type.  What was odd was a scrap of paper, in the player's writing, which was pinned to the sheet.  It read:
Strategies: Cocktail Bombs
Sneaking In
Surprise Lightning
Splitting Up
For the life of me, I have no idea what circumstances lead to the creation of that list, nor to its being given sufficient importance to be pinned to the character sheet.  Nor, for that matter, what it means.  Maybe next time I talk to the player, I'll ask him.

Below the break, my review of Chromosome's White Box.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Parable

I find parables, both of the religious and secular variety, interesting as a literary device.  Specifically, it's interesting to me that parables are supposed to impart a universal truth, yet they are often subject to one or more interpretations, sometimes radically different or even diametrically opposed to each other.  That they can both be described as "explicit imperatives" and "inkblot tests" speaks to both their strangely variable nature as a means of conveying an idea.

With that in mind, I've tried my hand at a parable myself.  It's also a true story, if you're interested, but that's neither here nor there.  It's one that I wrote with a particular fanfic (and a particular fan thereof) in mind, but that's also neither here nor there; these things are supposed to be broadly applicable, after all.  In any case, click below to read...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 2: Mendacity

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

About three years ago, my sister and I picked up some coffee drinks--I forget if it was from Starbucks or somewhere else, but that's not important.  What is important is that they put those cutesy little stickers over the drinking hole on the lid, and my sticker was a cow.  I happened to be wearing a farmer's cap that day, so I put the cow sticker on the bill, thinking it looked mildly appropriate.

It's still there; I'm typing this while wearing that same hat, and the sticker isn't showing any signs of pulling up around the edges.  It's starting to worry me, in fact.  Just what kind of industrial adhesives were those baristas putting in and around my drink?

Below the break, my review of Dromicosuchus's Mendacity.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 1: No Quixote Here

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

So now that the 6-Star Reviews have come to an end (more or less--there're a few stories that may yet finish up, and I'll review them when they do), it's time to move on to something new!  And by "move on to something new," I of course mean "do something that's almost exactly the same."  Thus begin the Fandom Classics reviews: the format you've come to know and grudgingly tolerate love, now applied to other famous, popular, and/or well-regarded stories.  Starting with Redsquirrel456's No Quixote Here, below the break.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

O Brave New World, That has Such Ponies in't!

Before we move on to further reviews, let us pause a moment to remember what came before.  For example, remember those guest posts from the last few weeks?  Well, there's one more column still outstanding, courtesy of AugieDog: not just a talented author, but probably the best-credentialed ponyfic writer I know.  So naturally, when he agreed to write a guest post for me, I gave it a special place of reverence in my posting schedule.

No, wait, that's not right.  What I did was misplace the e-mail and forget to schedule him entirely.

Man, I suck.

Be that as it may, here's said post, reflecting a unique and fascinating look at ponyfic through the eyes of a man with more writing experience than the entirety of FIMFic's feature box, on a typical day.  Click down below the break for wisdom.

Monday, August 12, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 148: The Immortal Game

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I'm back, baby!  Are you all ready for your gifts?  Because I got you something while I was on vacation.  Any idea what it is...?

That's right!  It's a review!  Specifically, it's a review of AestheticB's The Immortal Game.   Go unwrap it below the break.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Why We Write

And now, it's time to wrap up the guest posts.  I'll be back Monday with my review of The Immortal Game (actually, I've been back in town a couple days now, but never mind that), but before that there's one more non-Chris post which you'll definitely want to check out.  To bring the last few weeks to a suitably gripping conclusion, today we have Bad Horse: ponyfic author and devil's advocate of note.  But we have a lot more than that, as he recruited more than a dozen other authors to help him with his post!  Click down below for a pseudo-survey which looks at the question, "Why do we write?"

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Writing Beyond "The Usual"

Our next guest columnest wrote his own introduction, so I'll let him take it away:

Vimbert (self-depreciatingly labeled “the Unimpressive”) is a fanfic author who has done review/editing work in the fandom for almost two years and is currently an Equestria Daily pre-reader. He likes adorable kittens and explosions but hates when the two things interact.

Today, he brings us a reminder that comfort and complacency can all too easily go hand-in-hand.  Click down below the break to see what he has to say about trying something outside of your comfort zone.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Most Frustrating of Fanfiction

The column of the hour is brought to you by the inimitable Bugs the Curm, whom you might recognize from the comments section on this very blog. If so, you'll know that he's got opinions, and he's not afraid to share them. And sharing opinions in an unafraid manner is exactly what he does here, as he examines some of those stories which, despite being Good Stories, he simply can't bring himself to like. A vexing problem for a reviewer to have, I can say from experience. Click down below the break for his take on four good fanfics which just didn't work for him.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Blowing Words

 Today's guest post comes courtesy of Jeffrey C. "Skywriter" Wells, fanfic author of note (and in any case, even if he weren't, his appearance as a guest columnist here would immediately rocket him to the upper echelons of writing-ness), who makes a rare plea: spend less time on your story.

Is that a pithy distortion of what he's actually saying?  Absolutely.  Want to know the details?  Find them after the break

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

He Didn't Give Me a Good Title For Part 2

...But nonetheless, here's the remainder of Monday's post, in which SS&E tackled, in his trademark roundabout way, the infamous Cupcakes, and looked at what gives it its legs, and what impact its had on the fandom (dang, he's even got me writing run-ons).  Click down below the break to see what he thought of a completely different tonally, but equally famous, fanfic's take on Rainbow Dash.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What’s Eating Rainbow Dash (aka How I Learned to Quit Writing and Read Two Stories That Will Forever Be More Popular Than My Own Pretentious Drivel)

Who doesn't love a long title?  I love a long title, and I've got a long post to go with it.  Today's post comes from the prolific (and pouch-obsessed) shortskirtsandexplosions, who takes an oddball tour through some of the fandom's more notorious works; a tour full of whimsy, self-depreciation, and the occasional bit of cleverly disguised .  Specifically, he tries to figure out why these works are so pervasively popular in the first place, and comes up with some answers both obvious and surprising.  Click down below the break to see what he has to say about... well, I'm sure you can guess the first fic in question from the post title.

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Rules for MLP Fan Fiction

To finish off the first week without me (has it been so long already? Hopefully all hasn't descended into anarchy and chaos without my steady hand ever-present at the helm), we have a bit of writing insight from Cloud Wander, who's written far too many wonderful stories to name (seriously, go read of the stories on his FimFic page--you can't go wrong). Specifically, he talks about what his personal ground rules and points of emphasis are when he sits down to start writing--important things for any author to consider. Whether these rules match yours or not, I think you'll find something behind the break worth considering.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Guest Review: Divergence

On and on the guest reviews go!  Today's entry comes from NickNack, an author and proofreader/editor/fanfic troubleshooter who's turned his critical eye towards an old but well-regarded incomplete fic, Seattle_Lite's Divergence.  He's got an interesting style to it, too; very academic in structure, but still personal.

Review of Divergence, a My Little Pony fanfiction written by Seattle_Lite
(Review written by Nicknack)

Click down below the break for all the review-y goodness!

Monday, July 22, 2013

On Endings

By the time you read this, I'll be kicking back in sunny Arizona, drinking pina coladas out of monkey-shaped coconut mugs while beautiful women in leis serenade me with haunting melodies on their shamisens.  Or something like that.  In any case, I'll be mostly or entirely AWOL from the internet, so play nice in the comments until I get back in a few weeks.

In the meantime, don't fret that you'll have nothing to do for a few minutes, three times a week.  I've got an all-star lineup of everyone who was willing to perform some unpaid internet labor some authors and commenters which you definitely won't want to miss.  There's writing advice, reviewing, general commentary, and more!  But to begin with, I'm turning to the versatile author/reviewer/character analizer/etc. InsertAuthorHere, who's offering up some thoughts on how to conclude one's fanfic--a much-underrated skill, among many budding authors.  I thought it would be nicely ironic to begin the guest series with a post about endings.  Geddit?  Eh?

When you're finished being disappointed in me, click down below the break for his thoughts.

Friday, July 19, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 147: Transcendence

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I'm now only one story shy of reviewing every complete 6-star story!  Granted, I'm still something like half a million words shy if you want to count it that way, but the point is that I've very nearly accomplished the completely arbitrary goal I set for myself almost two years ago.

...Hey, you've gotta take your victories where you can get 'em.  Click down below the break for my thoughts on Corejo's Transcendence.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An Old Story

I'd like to try something a bit different today.  No ponies in this post; they'll be back for Friday's review.  Instead, I'd like to look back at some of the time I spent writing LotR fanfiction.

My reaction to my old work is usually embarrassment--an acute awareness of flaws which seem glaring in hindsight, and a sense of disappointment for not seeing those flaws earlier.  At the same time, whenever I come across a bit of dialogue which I still like the mouthfeel of, or an emotional scene which I still think moving, I feel a distinct surge of pride.

So I thought: what would one of my old fanfics look like, if I fixed some of the more boneheaded errors and smoothed it out a bit?  Would it be something I could be less embarrassed about?  With this in my head, I went back to what I'd probably call my best complete pre-pony fanfic: The Entwives' Garden.  My goal?  To make it something I could be proud not ashamed of if I had first written it today, rather than a bit less than a decade ago.

In truth, most of what I did was fix boneheaded errors and smooth a few things out; the majority of the story I'm still remarkably satisfied with, and this project turned out to be more "editing" than "rebuilding."  Probably 90% of the original dialogue and narrative remains.  And, having exorcised that particular demon, I thought I would share the end result with all of you:

Merry and Pippen promised Treebeard that they would look for the lost Entwives when they were once again home.  Now, after peace has been returned to the Shire, Pippen seeks answers in the Old Forest.

A bit of fair warning: this is a LotR fanfic, and I doubt it will have much traction with anyone who's never read the books.  Even among LotR fans, it's a story about Merry, Pippen, and everyone's favorite Old Forest denizens... not exactly the world's most popular characters (people have no taste).  That said, within the context of being a LotR fanfic, I feel pretty good about it.  I don't want to spoil the ending, but I'm very happy with how I set it up and delivered it, and that wasn't something I changed at all in the revisions.  Not enough fanfiction uses preparatory quotes from the creator or source material--though perhaps I'd find it more affectatious with ponies than I do with literature.  

Enjoy, and if you have any comments or criticisms, I'd love to hear them.  Fixing up an old work was a new experience for me, but in this case at least, it's one I feel pretty good about.

Monday, July 15, 2013

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 9)

My dad has a 1-pound coffee can full of wheat pennies, and after spending too much of the weekend meticulously going through them to see if we might get lucky, I can confirm that he and I are still not independently wealthy.  Oh well.

I've also been reading, and not all those words are ponyfics!  Click down below the break to see what I'm in the middle of just now.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 14

I'm currently putting together the initial list of Fandom Classics to be reviewed once the 6-star fics are gone; if you don't already see a new link at the top of the page by the time this post goes up, look for it to appear sometime over the weekend.  I had nearly a hundred fics suggested!  Anyway, I'm taking twenty for my "starter list."  If something you suggested didn't onto that list, don't worry.  It doesn't mean that I didn't see your e-mail or post (I hope!), nor that I thought it was a stupid suggestion and that now I think you're a stupid person, nor anything like that.  I'll be continuing to draw on the suggestions I've received so far and future ones that may come in to add to that list sporadically; the ones I chose to start with I picked--well, will pick; I'm still compiling the list as I break to type this--because they'll give me a reasonable variety of fic ages, genres, and lengths, instead of, say, bunching up a dozen novel-length beasts all together.

Anyway, click down below the break to see what I've just recently been reading!  A little commentary on some new-to-me (and mostly pretty new, period) stuff, down below.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Language as an Immersion-Breaker

Usually, when I read a comment that I want to respond to, I just respond to it.  But a couple of days ago, a question was posed which I wanted to pontificate about a bit.  After all, who doesn't love a good round of pontification?  Click down below the break for the question, and my commentary, concerning linguistic conventions in fantasy writing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 146: Summer Days and Evening Flames

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

The last of the sequels to previously reviewed fics that still needed reviewing is finally reviewed!  Click down below the break for my take on NickNack's Summer Days and Evening Flames.

Oh, before you go, one thing: what with the Tour de France underway, I'm once more getting blog hits from people searching Google for "Thomas Voeckler fanfiction."  Just remember, my offer still stands.  And on a Tour-related note... sorry, Mystic.  I'd say "better luck next year," but, well, Cadel Evans isn't getting any younger.

Okay, now on to pony-related stuff!

Friday, July 5, 2013


No review today.  Well, I guess that technically doesn't make me a liar; I did say "90%," after all, which is hardly a guarantee.

Anyway, being too old for fireworks, I'd planned to have time to finish up Evening Flames and write a review on the fourth.  Instead, I was surprised by a few friends, who showed up at my home and dragged me out the door (only semi-metaphorically).  I spent the afternoon and evening getting a little too much sun, drinking a little too much beer, eating a lot too much red meat, and being reminded that there's no such thing as "being too old for fireworks."

I'd apologize for the delay, but in truth, I'm not sorry at all.  It's amazing to me how sometimes, your friends know what you need better than you do.  I hope that, American or no, you all had half as wonderful a Fourth of July as I did.

...Okay, okay.  This time, I'll actually guarantee that the next post is the review.  Until Monday!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some Updates for the Rest of the Month

First thing's first: I'm about 90% sure I'll have my review of Summer Days and Evening Flames done by Friday.  Sorry about the unusually long wordcount/wait ratio, but it's nearly there!

For now though, I've got some news about where the site is going, both for the next month or so, and in the long term.  Click down below the break to see what's on the horizon.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A (Very Small) Bit of Writing from Me

The Tour de France is underway!  For three weeks, it's 6:30 am mornings (earlier on mountain stages!) full of rolling countrysides, grueling endurance competition, and some of the greatest long-form suspense and drama in sports.  I'll be chugging coffee on the couch while alternating between wishing I lived in a more convenient time zone and staring in rapt attention at the TV.  Who knows, maybe I'll even get a little extra fic reading done during commercials.

For now though, I've got a few bits of doggerel that I've been sitting on for a bit.  At one point I'd thought to do a bestiary entirely consisting of blunt warnings that horrible, horrible things happen to foals who go into the Everfree Forest, but I didn't get very far; I only put together three complete poems before I lost interest, and I haven't come back to them since.  Still, if you like simple poems (I envisioned the completed product as something Twilight might have checked out as a foal from the whatever-the-pony-equivalent-of-the-Victorian-Era-is wing of the library and read to herself, before locking herself in her room for a week so the Timber Wolves couldn't eat her), feel free to click below the break.  I put all three there, for you to peruse (or not) as you please.  As always, comments and criticism are great, but in any case, I hope you enjoy!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 13

They're reviews, they're mini, and they're right here, right now.  By "right here," of course, I mean "down below the break."  And by "right now," I mean "whenever you decide to read them, it's not like they're going anywhere."

Admittedly, I have a fairly liberal understanding of the phraseology in question.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: My Little Pony: The Elements of Harmony: Friendship is Magic: The Official Guidebook

For purchasing information, click here

Some of you may be recall that a licensed "guidebook" with a ridiculously long title (we'll just call it Elements of Harmony, for sanity's sake) was released earlier this month.  Well, I was gifted a copy, and now I'm here to tell you whether or not to buy it!  Click down below the break for my thoughts.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Have a Non-MLP Recommendation, for a Change

So.  I've been working on a thing, and haven't done much reading recently.  I should be able to put together a fanfic-y post for Wednesday, but in the meantime, here's something else.  It's got exactly nothing to do with FiM, but it's got a unicorn, so... that's good, right?

I was introduced to the syndicated comic strip Heavenly Nostrils, produced by Dana Simpson, over the weekend, and promptly blew over an hour archive-binging (is it binging or bingeing?  I can't think of any words where you keep the silent e when adding an -ing, but it seems to me that "binging" is the Microsoft-sanctioned equivalent of Googling, not an -ing-ified version of binge.  Anyway) before I pulled myself away and got back to doing something vaguely productive.  If you've never heard of the strip, it's a modern-set comic about a young girl who befriends a unicorn.

I figured I'd better drop an example or two, so... here

Although I don't claim to know much about art, the simple yet expressive character designs really appeal to me here (seriously, look at that third panel!  I love the faces), and at its best the humor captures the same mix of childlike wonder and adult awareness that typified Calvin and Hobbes.  Phoebe (the girl) is a classic mix of youthful exuberance and general dissatisfaction with the "real" world, while Marigold (the unicorn) is both a voice of reason and a constant source of sarcasm and self-importance.  The highlights of the comic are almost all strips which show these two playing off one another, in a (to me) delightful mix of whimsy and slice-of-life.

Here's one more

The whole strip is full of great humor, appealing art, and all-around goodness.  Go check it out on GoComics, if it sounds like your sort of thing.  And if not... I'll have some ponies or pony-derivatives of the Hasbro variety to comment on on Wednesday.  Until then!

...Okay, it's a little MLP-related

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Mystery of the Downvote

I don't have a good lead-in, but if you click below the break, you can treat yourself to some of my patented ramblings.  Today's topic?  That little thumbs-down button on FIMFiction: an entirely imaginary case study.

Monday, June 17, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 145: Pony Psychology Series

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Sometimes, when I read about stuff like this, I think it might be fun to go to a con or large meetup sometime, to put a few faces to (pen)names, go to some panels, and generally be in the presence of people who share this particular hobby of mine.

Then I realize that, even for the closest large convention, the costs of food, travel, lodging, ticket, and incidentals wouldn't be much less than a thousand bucks.  Oh well.

Below the break, my review of Saddlesoap Opera's Pony Psychology Series and sequel.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What to Do When Joseph Stalin Says Your Fanfic Sucks

I don't usually do the whole "reblog" thing, but I came across something I wanted to share yesterday.  Fanfic author and EqD pre-reader Aquaman posted some comments on how and how not to give and receive criticism which, while more than slightly vitriolic, is definitely worth reading.  Click below the break to read his thoughts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nothing Useful to Say

I'm taking a personal leave day from the blog to deal with a vague but nevertheless disconcerting case of ennui.
The kind of ennui that comes from having too much time on one's hands and too little will to find something productive to do?
Yes, Merriam-Webster, that's exactly what I'm feeling right now.  I think maybe I'll get a bowl of ice cream, then go watch some Voyager reruns or something--It's been a while since I've done that, and it sounds like a nice, low-energy, brain-relaxing thing to do.  I'm gonna start with that episode where they encounter a race that has no concept of music, and the Doctor becomes a super-celebrity.  That was always my favorite...

(Regular posts resume Friday)