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)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 12

I've been feeling pretty listless, lately.  I don't know exactly why--I guess I'm just in a funk.  That being the case, I've spent more time in the last week or so idly staring out the window or fussing over cups of coffee that I only fixed in the first place to give myself something to do than I've spent actually reading.

I have done some reading, though, and a bit of it was even ponyfiction!  Click down below the break to see what's caught my eye recently, and what I thought of it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Have Some Stuff to Read Over the Weekend

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by RBDash47, proprietor of the Pony Fiction Vault, asking if I'd be okay with having one of my stories, The Purloined Pony, inducted into (onto?) his site.  Spoiler alert: I said yes.  You should go check out his site for my interview (which should be going up sometime today; no pressure, RBD!), relevant links to and downloads of the story, and, most importantly, to take a look at some of the other entries on the site.  There are a lot of great stories collected there, and a lot of wonderful advice and insight if you look through the interviews.

Speaking of other sites, I've got the Links page all prettied up!  There are now links to all sorts of reviewers, fanfic posting and fanfic writing communities, and... well, that's pretty much it, actually.  Still, I urge you to go glance through the sites listed there and see if there's anything (or anyone!) new to you.  And as always, let me know if you're aware of any relevant sites which I haven't linked to.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 144: The Vagabond

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

As was brought to my attention recently when someone asked me why I never give stories more than three stars, it's been a while since I came across anything that really blew me away in my (nearly complete!) journey through the 6-star stories.  Mid-February was the last time I gave a story four or five stars, in fact.  Will this be the fanfic (or pair of fanfics, as the case may be) that breaks the slump?  Find out after the break.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Over the (Demographic) Rainbow

I spend much of last weekend watching my friends' children while the two of them were out of town.  One of the children I was babysitting was a third-grade girl; let's call her "Arya," because apparently that's what people name their daughters nowadays.  Although, I suppose naming your kid after a fictional character is nothing new: my dad lobbied to name me after a minor character from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but my mom said no.

Anyway, Arya knew that I watch MLP, and she loves the show, so the one thing she demanded we do while I was keeping order in the house was to indulge in some "pony time."  I've never watched the show, save alone.  What would it be like, to watch this children's show-cum-internet phenomenon with a member of the target demographic?

Also, we read a fanfic.

Click below the break to delve into the psyche of a nine year old girl... if you dare.

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Just a heads-up: I've been working this weekend on a super-secret project that will revolutionize the way we view ponies; if this post goes up, it means I didn't convert it to written form by posting time.  I'll still have it up today, but it'll be late--probably something in the 15-20 hour range.  Until then!