Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 87: Letters From a Friend at the End of the World

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

For those of you who can't get enough Chris in your life (and really, who can?), Nekonyancer recently interviewed me about my stories and reviews.  You can listen to the interview here; I apologize in advance if I sound like a stumbling idiot and retroactively destroy the beautiful Morgan-Freman-cum-English-gentleman voice you presumably read all of my posts in.  Nekonyancer did a nice job of editing together my babblings into something semi-coherent, and it was both incredibly fun and a huge honor to get to do it.

But if that sort of thing doesn't interest you, don't fret!  You can still check out my review of Alexmagnet's Letters From a Friend at the End of the World, below.

Monday, December 29, 2014

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 16)

It's the week after Christmas, and that means it's time to take a look at that new crop of books I found under the tree!  Well, that I found in boxes on my doorstep and then placed under the tree until the 25th, anyway--you know what I mean.

The point is, let's take a look at some of the non-ponyfiction that I'm currently in the middle of reading.  As always, below the break.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

If you're not a Christmas person, have a happy whatever else you'd like, too.  Honest, I'm not picky.

But whether you're celebrating Christmas, something else, or nothing at all, I'd like to take a moment this season to ask you: tell the people who matter most to you that you love them.  Phone call, in person, video chat--whatever's most realistic, based on proximity and what have you.  But the important part is, actually say the words "I love you" to them.

This is something I make a point to do every Christmas, because I don't say things like that very often.  Probably, I don't say them enough; reserve is a good thing in many situations, but sometimes it stops you from letting people know how important they are to you.  So this time every year, I spend a few days getting ahold of my closest friends and family, and saying telling them I love them.

Some of them think it's sweet, while others think I'm pretty silly.  But it's something that each of them deserves to hear.

I'm sure that you--each of you--has someone who you love.  Maybe it's a bunch of people, or maybe it's just one.  But if you're like me, haven't said those words to them in a while.  Really said them, not just a mumbled "loveyabye" at the end of a conversation (if that, even).  It's something simple, but amazingly powerful, that you can do for the most important people in your world.

I'm with family for the week, so I'm taking the rest of the week off to celebrate.  Reviews are back on Monday.  Until then, may your hearts be light.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Numbers Game

If you've published any stories on FiMFiction, then you probably have a pretty good idea what your story's statistics are.  You know, views, up/downvotes, total comments, that sort of thing.  Maybe you obsessively track every time one of those numbers goes up; maybe you're not quite that attentive.  But either way, you could probably say, or give a very close estimate, what those numbers look like on your biggest story or stories.

I want to talk about those numbers for a minute, because I think sometimes context gets lost.  Click down below the break to read what I think about all those stats, in a slightly more rambly-than-usual format.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 63

There's a special kind of fear one can only feel in a classroom full of young students: the moment when all the kiddies suddenly gasp and shriek while you were in the middle of saying something, and you have an instant of panic while you try to remember if you just accidentally let slip a curse word or sexual innuendo.  Then you find out that you just have to add "about a week ago" to the list of phrases that modern music has ruined.

Kids, man.  Anyway, a few short reviews of stuff I've recently read, below the break.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 86: Still a Better Love Story Than Twilight

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

Writeoff's over, and that means everyone's putting their stories up!  I'd link to them, but there's seriously a dozen or so that are already on FiMFic, so I'm only going to link to my favorite story out of the group (and 4th place finisher), Baal Bunny's Funatics.  Go read that if you need something tooth-rottingly sweet in your life.

Or go read my incisive, hard-hitting review of meme-asaurus's Still a Better Love Story Than Twilight, down below.  Can't go wrong either way!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 85: The Dresden Fillies: Strange Friends

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

I just noticed that a couple of my fanfics have recently hit milestones.  Going Up passed 500 upvotes, and Wyrmlysan became my fifth fanfic to make 1000 total views.  Not shocking numbers, at least compared to the "big boys" of the fandom, but they always make me boggle when I stop and think about them: a thousand people is a lot, and even if that includes repeat views and/or people who didn't finish the story, it's still a stunning number of people to have shared something so personal with (well, okay, some stories are more personal than others, but all of those stories are ones that feel personal to me).

Speaking of "big boys," how about a story with a very respectable 15,199 views and 1656 upvotes, as I write this?  Click down below the break for my review of psychicscubadiver's The Dresden Fillies: Strange Friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 62

I'm about two-thirds done reading the writeoff fics as I type this, and they're the usual entertainingly mixed bag.  There's a wrinkle this time, though; at the end, there's also going to be a "guess who wrote which stories" side-vote, and I am absolutely clueless.  Even for the authors who entered whom I think of as having a fairly distinct style (Augiedog Baal Bunny, Bad Horse) or who I figured I could just slot as the author of whatever my favorite story was (Cold in Gardez), I'm still drawing blanks.  Eh, maybe the easy ones are all bunched up at the end.

Anyway, I've also read a few non-writeoff things recently, to clear the palate a bit.  Have my thoughts on those things, below the break.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Bunch of Stories to Read and Review

The most recent writeoff has just finished its writing phase as this post goes up, and I spent much of my weekend hashing out an entry.  I have a lot to say about this story, but since basically everything I want to say would compromise its anonymity to one degree or another, it's just going to have to wait.

But you don't have to wait!  If you're interested in reading a collection of stories based on the prompt "behind closed doors," the entries are available here.  You can just skim through and find a few that interest you if you want, or you can tackle the lot (as I type this, three hours before the deadline, there have been 12 stories submitted; that number always grows in the final moments) and vote for your favorites.  Also, don't forget to drop by the discussion thread to check out peoples' reviews and comments on the stories, or to offer up some of your own if the fancy strikes you.  I'll hopefully be posting my own comments in that thread within the next few days, if that's the sort of thing you want to watch for.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 84: Do Changelings Dream of Herding Sheep?

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

Well, it's December, which means it's officially close enough to Christmas that I don't feel obligated not to bake Christmas cookies anymore!  Luckily I'm one of those people who can eat sugar all day and not gain a pound, or else I'd double in weight every holiday season.  Nobody needs two Chris's in one body, after all.

Unrelated to the above, but very related to the post title: click on down below the break to check out my review of John Perry's Do Changelings Dream of Herding Sheep?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 61

So, how about that new FiMFic update, eh?  Recommended stories, and a new search thingamabob.  A couple of thoughts:

1) For the recommended stories, I like the idea, and I don't mind losing the "other stories by the same author" bit on the side; I figure if someone likes one of my stories enough to want to read another, they'll probably do so whether or not the story is actually there on the side of the screen when they're finished.  Not sure how the recommendations are set up, but I noticed that most of my fics link back to at least one other story by me--I don't know if that's a feature or a bug, but either way.  I'm also not sure how much I trust those recommendations at the moment, but if nothing else, it's got some potential.

2) I know I'm not the first to notice, but how am I supposed to search for blogs with the new search feature?  That's not an idle complaint; I used that functionality just a couple of days ago to find PresentPerfect's review of Forever Young, for example.  We'll see if something pops up to replace it, I suppose.  The interface for searching fics looks nice, though.

Anyway, on to story reviews!  Short takes, below the break.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 83: Forever Young

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

Hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving!  If not, consider pulling a "take two" this week; it's not like there's ever a bad reason to get together with the people you love and overeat.  Okay, I'm sure there are plenty, but you know what I mean.  Late Thanksgiving is better than never-Thanksgiving!

Speaking of things you're all thankful for, how about some reviews?  Don't deny it, you know you love them.  Get my thoughts on Hyperexponential's Forever Young, below the break.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Thanksgiving Scenelette to Leave You On

Just a bit of drabbling that was beating around my head yesterday.  Enjoy some seasonal quickwriting, below the break, and enjoy your leftovers for the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 60

Still working my way toward "not so stressed that I can't focus on anything;" Thanksgiving break will hopefully help with that, or at least give me the opportunity to get back to work feeling relaxed and confident, rather than snippy and behind-the-ball.  I've managed to read a few bits of fanfic nevertheless, though!  Click down below the break for short takes on what I've read lately.

Monday, November 24, 2014

First Sentences in (Fan)Fiction

Well, I didn't get much writing done, but I piddled around with the start of a story for a while.  I have more trouble with beginnings than with middles and endings, generally, when I write--so I thought I'd look at how some other authors have started their stories.

Specifically, I thought that I'd look at that much-ballyhooed First Sentence.  A good first sentence can instantly hook a reader, while a bad one can just as easily drive one away.  Of course, the hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of sentences which come after it matter, too.  But analyzing the forty-seventh sentence of stories doesn't have the same ring, does it?

Below, I've posted the first sentence of the dozen Fandom Classics I've most recently reviewed, my star rating for the story overall, and my thoughts on the first sentence, specifically.  Let's see if anything interesting emerges.

Friday, November 21, 2014

No Post Today

Well, obviously that's a lie, because you're reading this right now.

Seriously though, a combination of personal issues and a yet-unresolved crisis at work have made this a rough week for me, and I've had trouble getting more than a few paragraphs of reading done at a stretch, to say nothing of review-writing.  There have been (and will continue to be, for at least a few more weeks) unusual demands on my time, but the bigger issue is stress--both in the form of unexpected, unprepared-for responsibilities, and complicated emotions.  So, rather than try to force my way through something, I'm taking the day off.

I'm going to try to do some writing over the weekend; I've got a... not sad, but more "contemplative" story that's been kicking around my head for a while, and sometimes getting a story drafted can take the edge off, I find.  Even if that doesn't end up being what I need, I'm hoping the weekend gives me some time to get a little more ahead of the ball at work, and to get my head to a better place.  Reviews, or at least something, return Monday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 82: Inner Demons

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

If any of you were waiting for a fantasy football update (hah!), here it is: my team has the third-most points scored to date in my 12-team league... and a current win-loss record of 4-7, having managed to lose to a now-2-9 team en route to officially being eliminated from the fantasy playoffs.

Usually I just have a bad team.  This year, I'm experimenting with a pretty good team that just performs terribly.

Okay, on to stuff someone other than me is interested in.  My review of SapphireLibra3's Inner Demons, below the break.

Monday, November 17, 2014

On the Value of Up- and Downvotes

As you may be aware, I'm something of a fan of terrible jokes.  So when I came across this one over the weekend, I could hardly help but share it:

Sherlock Holmes and Watson went to a hunting lodge.  Sherlock set several game traps on the first day, but when he went to check them, he found that only one trap has been sprung, and that the fox it snared had gnawed its own leg off to escape, leaving nothing but a paw behind.  When he came back to the lodge, Watson asked, "Did you catch anything?" 
Holding up the paw, Sherlock announced, "The game is a foot!"

How people can fail to appreciate gold like that is beyond me.

Moving on, though: I've been thinking about those little green and red thumbs which FiMFiction lets you use to vote on stories, and what--if anything--they add to the reader experience.  Click down below the break for my thoughts.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 59

At work today, I discovered that a student had carved "YOLO SWAG" into his desk.  Is that still a thing?  Is yolo/swag still something we're doing?  I thought we, as a society, were past this, but our sixth-grade population hasn't gotten the message.  Seriously, is this 2012?  I think not.

Okay, on to fanfic reviews.  Three stories that don't deface school property with out-of-date catchphrases, below the break.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 81: Forever Faithful

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

A heads-up for those of you with some interest in getting into reviewing: The Royal Guard group on FiMFiction is in desperate need of new reviewers, and are looking for people who know how words work to help them keep going.  If you're interested, Prak has a blogpost with more information.  Something to consider if you like having fanfic opinions, but aren't quite crazy enough to start doing your own blogposts!

Speaking of blogposts, check below the break for my review of Konseiga's Forever Faithful.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 58

I've been wondering recently: what, if anything, can you tell about an author from the titles they pick for their stories?  Not "what can you tell about the stories," or even "can you tell what kinds of stories the author writes," but "what can you actually tell about the author, based just on the titles of their fics and nothing else?"

I mean, I'm guessing the answer is "nothing, or near enough as makes no difference," but maybe I'm underestimating how much so few words can tell you about someone.  At the very least, I wonder if you could tell who wrote a given story (from a small list, anyway) based solely on the title.  Maybe I'll try that next writeoff.

Oh, also, some short reviews.  Get 'em below the break!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 80: No Regrets

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

I have Friday off, and thank goodness for that: I'm coming down with something monumentally unpleasant.  Honestly, I probably shouldn't have gone into work today (Thursday, as I type this) at all, but I hate taking sick days on either side of a long weekend.  I have this irrational fear that everyone will think I'm faking so I can go on vacation, or something.  I know it's silly, but I guess I'm just a silly person.  A silly person who expresses that silliness by hacking and croaking at people as they crack jokes about Ebola.  Anyway, horizon's No Regrets, below the break.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

And Now, a Brief Intermission for Civic Duties

If you're a US citizen over 18 years of age, please remember to vote today, if you haven't already.  Click here if you need help with registration--in many states, same-day registration is available, so it's not too late!--or to find your polling place.  Finding out enough about the candidates in your major/closely contested races only takes a few minutes, the act of voting itself a couple more.  Whatever your political leanings, please remember to go express them today.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 57

Halloween at work was... weird.  Plenty of people dressing up, which I expected, but I didn't anticipate five different people independently deciding to dress as bananas.  It wasn't like they'd all gotten together and decided to go as bananas; just five folks, all in banana costumes.  Are bananas a thing this year or something?  Whatever, it was strange.

Three short reviews of stuff, below the break!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 79: Rainbooms and Royalty

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

In the lunchroom today, I was introduced to a new game: "Perkins or Porn?"

As I had never really noticed before but immediately realized was true upon having it pointed out to me, there are two kinds of stores--at least, in the Midwest--that regularly have absurdly oversized American flags flying above them.  Those two types of stores are, of course, Perkins' and sex shops (those of you who don't live in the US will have to trust me on this).  The way the game works is that, when you see an absurdly oversized American flag in the distance while driving down the highway, you and the passengers all have to guess whether it denotes Perkins or porn.  Obviously, you can't play it on well-traveled routes, but apparently it's a good way to pass a long trip.

...I have no good segue out of that.  Instead, let's just go right on to my review of Trinary's Rainbooms and Royalty, below the break.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 15)

Halloween is almost here, which means it's almost time for me to start thinking about costumes.  Like many adult men (not all... but I think "many" is fair), my general attitude towards Halloween costumes is "how little work can I put into this, while also not spending much if any money?"  Eh, I've got plenty of time; I'll probably start thinking about it come Thursday night.

Meanwhile, I'll think a bit about the books I'm currently reading.  Want to know what I read when I'm not reading ponyfic?  Click below the break to find out.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 56

Time for some short takes on short stories that I've recently read!  Also, time to rake, but this seems more important.  I've got three trees in my yard, and they all drop about two weeks apart from each other--why bother raking until the last one's lost its leaves?  I'm sure my neighbors won't mind!  Yes, we'll go with that plan, and devote our attention to the mini-reviews below the break.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 78: Roll for Initiative

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

When did "roll for initiative" become a catchphrase, anyway?  You've got to roll for surprise before you can roll for initiative in most situations; wouldn't "roll for surprise" be more apropos?  Unless this is one of those post-1st ed things.  Do you even have to roll for surprise anymore?  I'm going to be annoyed and grumpy if the answer is "no."

That said, I can't fault an author for what phrases do and don't enter the tabletop lexicon.  My review of Prak's Roll for Initiative, after the break.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 77: Twilight Sparkle Earns the Feature-Box

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

Alpha House returns this weekend!  Man, I loved the first season of that show, and I'm pumped for S2.  If you like (US) political comedy, you should check it out.  Of course, it's just my luck that I'm helping run a musical contest on Friday and Saturday, but that just means I'll have to wait a couple more days before I get to dive back in.  Ah, good stuff.

And, hopefully still on the subject of "good stuff," click down below the break for my review of Skywriter's Twilight Sparkle Earns the Feature-Box.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 76: Dash's New Mom

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

Hey, lot's of stuff to put up here today!

First, the writeoff's over, and I came home with another silver medal.  I've never heard of the guy whose story topped mine before; probably some no-talent hack who got lucky.

Second, I've gotten all of the stories I've reviewed here into a "reviewed" bookshelf over on FiMFiction!  That took a long time, what with the nearly five hundred stories I had to find and add.  Not that those are the only stories I've reviewed; a lot of them, especially the fandom's earlier ones, aren't on FiMFic at all.  It was also pretty sad every time I went to link to some great story, and the icon next to the author's name said "54 wks ago."  A lot of good authors have moved on; I guess all we can do is be thankful that good new ones keep showing up to replace them.

Finally, EqD is doing friendoffs again!  I used to love those things, back when the fandom was, like, a few orders of magnitude smaller.  We'll see how it does now, but I have high hopes; the idea of showing your appreciation for an author or artist by building on their work in the other medium is one ripe for fun.  I'll have to figure something out, I think.

Now, with all the housekeeping out of the way, let's move on to the reviewing!  ABagOVicodin's Dash's New Mom, after the break.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 55

This week, I got to go to a scotch seminar/tasting put on by Laphroaig.  It was tremendously fun, and I learned a lot besides; the brewery had flown their master distiller in to speak about how the scotches are made and aged, and their "American Ambassador" was on hand to discuss the drinks themselves, and the history of the distillery.  Scotch is still a bit to expensive a habit for me to do more than dabble in (the ticket was a birthday present), but it was a wonderful experience nevertheless.

Now then!  Let's get on to the (mini-)reviewing, below the break.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 75: In Her Majesty's Royal Service

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

Nothing worth sharing up here, so have a joke I heard in the breakroom at work yesterday instead:

Pavlov is sitting in the bar, when the phone rings.  "Dammit!" he yells, "I forgot to feed the dog!"

Okay, okay, once you've simmered down from the fever pitch of comedy that just got delivered to you (hey, I liked it), head on down below the break for my review of Sagebrush's In Her Majesty's Royal Service.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Writeoff Menagerie 2: Writeoff Harder

Once more, I spent the weekend writing and reading writeoff stories instead of, er, not-writeoff stories.  Well, I also had a concert on Saturday, but I think we all know that that is hardly an excuse for not reading things.  Anyway, I've reviewed the 49 entries here; don't be daunted by the long list, they're minifics, so they add up to just a bit over 30,000 words combined!  That's nothing!

If you'd like to read and vote, go to the gallery and give it a whirl!  If you'd like to comment on those stories, or if you just want to see what everyone else is saying, check the FiMFic thread.  And if you want to know why so many of the stories are...

a) weird metafiction, it's because horizon is a guy who regularly participates, and the prompt was "just over the horizon," and people are people.

b) about skeletons, I assume because it's October?  Also, the second-place prompt was skeleton-themed; I think some people tried to go double for kicks and giggles.

c) Equestria Girls-related, I have no idea.  I guess a lot of people liked the new movie.

d) using the phrase "just beyond the horizon" in the stories, I blame reviewers who get persnickety about whether or not a story uses the prompt enough.  Makes writers afraid, so they try to get really blatant so they aren't accused of not following the prompt.  Hopefully it passes.

e) really pretty good, it's because a lot of really pretty good authors do this each time, and even without them, there always seem to be some great stories from readers whose names I don't recognize.  I do like that about these things.

Anyway, go to!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 54

Hey, FiMFiction finally got bookshelves!

...Aw man, now I've got to stop using "favorites" as "tracking" and start actually using these, don't I?  Man, that sounds like work; I finally got all the mini-reviews into a header-linked page this week, and now I've got more going back over old fics to do?  Man, life is suffering, man.  Man.

So instead of doing that, I'm going to type up some mini-reviews!  Short takes on fanfics I've recently read, below the break; bookshelf-work TBD.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 74: The Last Human

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

One of the odd things about middle-schoolers (well, teens and pre-teens generally) is that they're desperate to forge an identity for themselves, often with little regard for how well it fits.  Even if that identity literally doesn't fit at all, even.  Where I work, the "Mexican" kids hang tightly together--even though the kids in question don't seem to really understand what "Mexican" is, using it to vaguely encompass anyone Hispanic who grew up in a Spanish-speaking household, and encompassing kids born not just in Mexico/raised by Mexican parents, but also students from Salvador and third-generation Americans.  But not an actual Spanish student, who speaks Spanish "wrong," nor a white teacher who was raised in Tijuana.  On one hand, it's kind of cute, and I get that creating an identity is part of being that age.  On the other, these kids need to know what the words they're using mean.

Speaking of identities, here's a story that features that as a theme!  Identities, that is, not Mexican-ness.  PatchworkPoltergeist's The Last Human: Tales of the Pre-Classical Era, below the break.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 53

Time for some short reviews of some of the stuff I've recently read for fun!  Click on down below the break for your latest dose of the unending juggernaut that is One Man's Pony Ramblings.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Sweetest Water

Nothing is without a price, as many discover to their sorrow. Few are those who truly know themselves, and fewer still are those who know which prices are worth bearing—and which hide perils threatening that which they most treasure.


My new story/most recent Writeoff entry was posted on FiMFiction yesterday.  The Sweetest Water is decidedly in the "fairytale" genre, which is a favorite of mine (the genre, that is) and which I hope I've crafted a suitably Equestrian take on.  I got some very good advice on the Writeoff version, and although the finished product has many of the same words and events, I believe it's a much stronger story (and one with fewer stupid mistakes)--thank you to everyone who offered reviews or suggestions!

And speaking of reviews or suggestions: if an Equestrian fable sounds like your sort of thing, you should check out The Sweetest Water.  And if, after reading, you have any thoughts or critiques, please share them here or on FiMFic; I appreciate any suggestions or advice you have.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Moment of Epiphany

Time to ramble!  If the title interests you, click below the break for my thoughts on that most powerful, rarest of moments, and when and why it strikes.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 73: Melt

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

My cat has figured out how to close my laptop screen by head-butting it while balancing on my knees.  On one hand, I marvel at his ingenuity.  On the other, he seems to be doing it just for fun--it's not like he's necessarily looking for a lap, sometimes he'll push down my screen and then hop off and wander away--and it's getting old pretty fast.  Plus, it just makes writing these reviews take longer when I've got one more interruption, even if it is a cute and fuzzy one.

So, ambion's Melt.  Review below the break, as always.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 72: The Assumption of Applejack -or- Appletheosis

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

I was thinking about fashion, recently.  I'm pretty fashion-blind, but even I can date a show or movie to within a decade or two based solely on the hairstyles of the female characters.  And yet, if you asked me to describe modern female hairstyles using the same kind of adjectives I could apply to 70's hair or 80's hair, I'd be at a total loss.  I mean, I flipped on the TV just now and went channel surfing to see what I could come up with, and I've got nothing.  Looks like I may have to wait twenty years or so before I can tell what modern hair looks like.

Anyhoo, my review of Blue Print's The Assumption of Applejack -or- Appletheosis, below the break.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 52

It's been a good week for my writing, this has.  First, I managed to snag a tie for first in the Writeoff--there were a lot of good stories in the mix, and I honestly didn't feel to positive about my entry, but as a policy I try to take all praise at face value.  Those of you who like seeing me write stuff can look forward to (a fixed-up version of) The Sweetest Water being posted soon, by which I mean "hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we'll see how it goes."

Second, xjuggernaughtx pointed out to me a couple of days ago that my fanfic Going Up is currently on the first page of FiMFic's "Top - All Time" list!  I'm not entirely sure how that list is calculated (only one other story in the top ten has less than 10,000 views), but that's pretty darn neat to me.  So, thank you to all of you who continue to like it when I write things: you make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

But enough about me!  Let's look at some of the fanfics I've recently read, below the break.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Quick Trip Down Ponyfic Memory Lane

You know, I've got my problems with FiMFiction (still no bookshelves system; the Feature Box is, well, the Feature Box; people are allowed to clog up their page with a trillion .gifs so that I can barely load the dang thing; etc.), but on the whole it's a pretty nice setup.  I don't know of any other fanfiction site--pony or not--that combines it's ease of use, readability, and social features, and even if the thing's not perfect, it's a fair sight better than any other fanfiction platform I'm familiar with.

But I want to talk about the Before Times, or rather, about one specific aspect of them: filled-up Gdocs.  Those of you who've been around for a few years no doubt remember those, but some newer fanficcers might not know what I'm talking about.  So, indulge me as I ramble about the old days, below the break.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 51

Today's post was going to be my review of The Assumption of Applejack -or- Appletheosis... until I went to type it up and realized that I'd read the wrong story again.  Stupid FiMFic authors need to stop giving their fanfics similar names; it's Daring DONE!/Daring Don't all over again!

That being the case, we're doing a round of mini-reviews today so I have time to go read the story I'm supposed to be reviewing.  And naturally, we're leading off with...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Writeoff Menagerie

Well, I'm back to being behind.  I spent most of the weekend rushing to get a story done for the There Is Magic In Everything Writeoff, and then far more time than I intended over the last few days reviewing all the entries.  This was the first time I'd done a three-day, 2000+ word writeoff, and... well, that is not the speed I normally work at.  The end result has a few glaring, painful mistakes (I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that; most of the entries have a dumb slip-up or three.  Par for the course with a time crunch, I guess), and needs some polish before I'll be happy with it... but I think I'll end up being able to turn it into a new fic, so I'm counting that as a plus!

Now, normally this is where I'd tell you to go read those stories and review them in the thread I linked above and/or vote on them, but 90,000 words by Sunday is a pretty tall order.  So instead, I've grouped all the stories into broad categories below!  Some are genres, some are stylistic similarities... basically, I tried to put three fics which all shared some significant features into each category.  If 23 stories is too much, consider seeing if one or two of the categories below appeals to you, and sample from those!  Or read all the fics in one category and see how they compare.  Do whatever you like with them, really; I'm just trying to provide some more manageable chunks for people who'd like to read some fanfic, but aren't interested in committing to tackling the whole list.  Check out my story groups, below the break.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 71: Life on the Frontier

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

For those of you who aren't keeping track of such things, this month's writeoff will have entered the voting phase around the time this post goes up.  If you want to do some reading and/or voting and/or reviewing, check out the entries and see what you think!  Or, if you're just here for me to tell you what I think, check out my review of Starwind Dood's Life on the Frontier, below the break.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 50

Let's call this the Outside Insight not-even-close-to-a-wrapup: four stories, all of which are from that contest, that I've read recently for fun (as opposed to for Fandom Classics or for the RCL--I've read at least a couple for the latter, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if one or two eventually end up on the former).  Click on down below the break to see what I read, and what I thought of it.  Them.  Whatever.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 70: Twilight's List

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

Over the past few years, I seem to have developed a weakness for tattoo-themed reality competitions.  I mean, I keep watching them, and while I'm usually only half paying attention, they're still something I keep up with.  There's just something horrifyingly compelling about the idea of people being willing to get themselves permanently marked by contestants of uncertain skill, working under strict time limits in a foreign, unfriendly setting.  Getting a tattoo is one thing, but getting one on a reality competition is a whole different level of dedicated/idiotic.

So, yeah.  That out of the way, let's move on to my review of kits' Twilight's List, below the break.

EDIT: Because I can't figure out how to put multiple spoiler tags in the text without one overwriting the other's text, the rating today is unspoilered.  Just a heads-up, if you're one of those "don't want to see it until I've finished reading the review" folks.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cleaning Up After, Um, Myself

Sometimes, not thinking ahead can make a mess of things.  Case in point: my mini-reviews.

See, I started doing them back when I still had plenty of 6-star stuff to get through, when the Fandom Classics that you've all come to know and blindly adore weren't even conceived yet.  As such, the first dozen or so mini-reviews had some pretty major stories in them, because they weren't 6-starred and I didn't realize I might want to "save" them for later.  For example, Hard Reset, The Flight of the Alicorn, and The Keepers of Discord are all scattered in thereabouts.

Now, I could just leave well enough alone, but several times now I've had people ask why I've never reviewed one of those stories (and probably one or two others that I don't remember off the top of my head) or suggest them for me to do a "real" review of.  I mean, it's kind of silly that some of the biggest stories in the fandom don't get on my list, when said list is ostensibly about looking at the biggest stories in the fandom.  And the mini-reviews... I mean, it's not like I don't try when I'm writing them, but those are fics I read casually; the depth isn't there, and my comments are more "biggest impressions" than "here's what did and didn't work for me" (also, no stars.  I know some of you love those stars).  So, I'm looking for some suggestions: what should I do with the big stories that got mini-reviewed?  My options as I see them are:
1) Do nothing.  This is what I've done so far.  Pros: it's the least amount of work.  Cons: see above paragraph. 
2) Throw some of the big stories up on the fandom classics list, maybe in an "other" or "N/A" category at the bottom.  Pros: only slightly more work than #1.  Cons: doesn't really address the issues; more "shunts then to the side, says 'eh, good enough.'" 
3) Re-review the stories as Fandom Classics.  Pros: results in reviews of those stories!  Cons: to do it properly, I'd need to re-read and re-review those stories, which is fine in and of itself (I've re-read plenty of stories for Fandom Classics or 6-Star Reviews), but probably means retreading areas I've already covered.
So again, I'd like to get some suggestions.  Does one of those stick out to you?  Do you have some brilliant alternative (no sarcasm; brilliant alternatives would be welcome)?  If you've got any sort of opinion, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 49

Good news: while doing some start-of-the-school-year cleaning, I found a few fanfics I read and wrote some comments to myself about last year that got filed away with my work stuff (sometimes I print fanfics to read; deal with it).  So, here are some 3+ months-late reviews!  Get 'em below the break.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 69: The Celestia Code

To read the story, click the image or follow this link
Heh, sixty-nine.

...Okay, I've got it out of my system.  Do your giggling up here, then click down below for my review of iisaw's The Celestia Code.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Whoppers Junior," However, Remains the Epitome of Class

Yeah, so, no reviews today.  I'll be back in business Wednesday, but this weekend's turning out to be a long one in both senses of the word for me.  Yay Labor Day!  Boo things that require actual effort out of Chris!

If you're looking for something to read in the meantime, well, I'm sure I don't need to remind you all that EqD is doing there Outside Insight thing, and although the winners should be announced any day now, there are plenty of good stories in the mix.  Read them all, and find out which are worth the time!

...No?  Okay, lucky for you, there are a few people who've risen to the challenge.  Both Present Perfect and InquisitorM have both taken it upon themselves to read and review every single one of the hundred-odd fics involved!  In PP's words, that's "1.09 Fallouts Equestria" (I'm pretty sure that should be "Fallout Equestrias" since "Equestria" isn't really an adjective in that title, but I'll admit that PP's way looks way classier), so if for some reason you aren't already reading either of their blog posts, go check those out.  And, if you know of anyone else who's managed to review everything, let me know and I'll toss their names up here, too!

Anyway, that oughtta keep y'all busy.  I've found some good ones through the two of them--a couple I've mentioned in previous mini-reviews, and a few more will probably show up in upcoming installments--so go try their words about horsewords on for size.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 48

I got a cavity filled yesterday; it's about the fourth or fifth I've ever had, which I figure makes me pretty normal.  They're all on my upper teeth, though; when you look at my dental x-rays, the upper set is a giant wall of metal (I've got several fake teeth up there too, courtesy of some childhood trauma), and my lower set is 100% all-natural.  I'm starting to wonder if it's luck, or if I'm secretly bad at brushing the top row.

On an unrelated note, mini-reviews!  Get them below the break.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 68: Quizzical

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

I discovered this afternoon that large segments of the documents and images saved on my computer no longer exist.  Not a big deal in and of itself--everything important is backed up on thumb drives--but more than slightly annoying.  I haven't figured out what happened yet, but just in case, we're doing the whole "change all your passwords" thing that I hate.  Anyway, if you get an e-mail from me about free c-a1is or something, it's probably not legit.

On what I sincerely hope to be a far less frustration-filled note, click below the break for free c-a1is to read my review of JMac's Quizzical.

Monday, August 25, 2014

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 14)

Just a heads-up: I'm going to do my best to keep posting stuff M-W-F like usual, but the next few weeks are some of the busiest in my year, what with school getting back in and everything.  So, if I fall short, I apologize in advance.  I'll at least post an apologetic excuse or some filler or something.

For now, though, let's take a look at what I dragged back home from vacation with me!  I always pick up a new pile of used books when I'm down there; here's what I'm reading today.

Friday, August 22, 2014

You're Worth It, Too

Those of you who follow InquisitorM over on FiMFiction may have already seen his latest blogpost--and if you haven't, I'll link to it at the end of this.  But first, I want to get in a few words about asking for help, both generally, and with fanfiction specifically.  Click down below the break for more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 47

For some reason, I've been feeling pretty brain-dead lately.   The 35k words from the minific writeoff took me more than twice as long as that amount of writing should have to get through, and I've been having a tremendous amount of trouble getting myself to sit down and read--fanfiction or otherwise.   Nevertheless, I've got bits of this and that under my belt, and here's what I thought of 'em!   Short reviews of short stories, after the break.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mini-Fics Are Like Not-Mini-Fics, Only Mini

Okay, normally I don't use this as an excuse, but I just finished reading and reviewing the last of the entries for the most recent mini-fic writeoff about half an hour ago, and my brain is shot.  So, reviews continue Wednesday.

If you need a fix, though... well, I just happen to have 51 reviews right here!  Though, they're not really reader reviews.  If you're looking for something to read, perhaps you might want to try some of said 51 fanfics, though?  There are some real gems in the bunch, and at >750 words a pop, it's easy to try a few different flavors before bed, as it were.  If contest entries that don't (have to) take up your whole day are your thing, give it a try, and rate and/or review a few, eh?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 67: The Longest Night

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

If you aren't currently following City of Doors, you really should be.  But if you aren't and refuse to repent, you should at least be aware that he's recently called my attention to two new-to-me fanfic reviewers: Louder Yay (aka Loganberry) and RazgrizS57, both of whom have got a nice collection of reviews under their belts, and more on the way (no pressure, guys).  Oh, and did I mention they've both reviewed one of my stories along the way?  That's probably totally coincidental to my mentioning them here.

In case that doesn't sate your need for reviews, get one more below the break with my thoughts about Tundara's The Longest Night.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

6-Star Reviews Part 162: The Steadfast Sky

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

Words? Read.  Opinions?  Formed.  Review?  Written.  Check it out below the break: The Grey Potter's The Steadfast Sky.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'm back-ish!

Just got home today!  Less than an hour ago, in point of fact.  And while I've finished reading The Steadfast Sky, I'm not feeling up to doing a review of it tonight.  I mean, sure, I've got about six hours until post time, but I'm tired and crampy and would almost certainly produce something more "cobbled together" than "intelligently critical" in nature.  When I do write something that looks cobbled-together, I like to at least have no excuses.

Instead, you will be regaled with highlights of my trip!  In bullet form, both for quicker typing and quicker reading--think of it as a twenty second-long slideshow, minus the pictures.

  • I saw a wild gila monster for the first time!  It was right in the middle of the bike path I was riding on--I got within a few feet of it (not any closer, though; you don't want to get bitten by them).
  • I spent over $100 on used books, and believe me, you can get a lot of used books for that price.  Fuel for future flights of imagination, or unmemorable dreck?  Time will tell!  Buying a used book always feels like playing the lottery, only with a lot more wins.
  • My dad and I spent several days fixing up grandma's backyard.  She has a large cactcus garden, and there was a lot of weeding (and some brick re-laying) that she can't do on her own.  I enjoy that kind of thing--I have a black thumb, myself, but I do like gardens.
  • And, of course, I got to spend plenty of time with my extended family.  That's what vacations are all about.  Or at least, what mine are.  Your vacation mileage may vary.
Anyway, thanks one last time to the guest columnists, and reviews again on Wednesday!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Author Analysis: GaPJaxie

Today brings us the final entry before my return: a whimsical but detailed look at GaPJaxie's writing, courtesy of the inimitable Cold in Gardez.  Click down below for all the wonderful goodness you've (hopefully) come to expect from this series.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 66: On The Importance Of Spelling

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

Man, what do you want from me?  I have enough trouble coming up with something witty to say on a regular post; one I'm writing two weeks in advance?  Forget it.  Just go enjoy my review of Softly8088's On The Importance Of Spelling.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Author Analysis: Somber

Part two of our Author Analysis, ho!  Today's entry comes courtesy of Icy Shake, who delves into the wide-ranging realm of Somber's fanfiction.  Click below for his thoughts on all the author's stories, and how Somber has developed as an author through them.

Also, pictures!  Who doesn't love some coverart to break up a long post?  Anyway, yeah, go check it out below the break.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 65: A Dream of Dawn

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

I'm part of a CSA with a local farm this year; if you're unfamiliar with the premise, you basically pay a lump sum to a local farmer at the start of the year, and then every week you get a box full of whatever they're growing that's harvest-ready that day.  It's been fun and has rather drastically increased the amount of veggies in my diet (when your box has five different kinds of leafy greens, you end eating a lot of salads and sautees), so I guess if you're the kind of person who can handle that level of "healthy eating" (I put it in quotes because I tend to do things like cover my salads with bacon) and live near a farm that does it, I would recommend it based on my experience.

Click below the break to read my review of Starsong's A Dream of Dawn.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Author Analysis: John Perry

I hope you're all excited for our first Author Analysis.  Today, RTStephens brings us a look at my fellow reviewer and RCL-er, John Perry.  Click below to see how he moved from writing stuff which was, in his own words in a guest post he once wrote for me, "Very bland and poorly constructed," to stuff that, well, isn't!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 46

That's right, we're starting the vacation off with some short stuff!  Click down below the break to see what I've been reading recently.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Plans for the Next Two Weeks

So, as you may have gathered, I'll be (mostly) afk for the next couple of weeks.  Fear not, though!  There'll still be plenty of good stuff to read here at the regularly scheduled intervals while I'm off on vacation.  If you're interested to know what to look forward to, click below.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 64: Synchronicity

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

I've been watching the old Battlestar Galactica recently, and I'm really enjoying it.  Oddly, I find that one of the things I like most about it is also something I really enjoy about MLP: the total, unironic sincerity of the show.  Granted, in Battlestar Galactica they're being totally, unironically sincere about the absolute rightness of the military, the incompetence of civilian leadership, and the like, but dang it, this is the kind of show you don't see anymore: the kind where the villain is literally just Snidely Whiplash without the mustache, and yet he's not a parody, or a deconstruction, or anything else.  He's just a cartoonishly evil dude who's sincerely cartoonishly evil.

All that said, I don't know if I'd recommend it per se (think a hyper-militaristic version of the original Star Trek, in terms of plots and production quality), but I'm having fun watching it.  Now, with TV reviews out of the way, let's get on to fanfic reviews!  A Hoof-ful of Dust's Synchronicity, below the break.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 45: Most Dangerous Game Edition

You all knew this was coming, right?  Obselescence is running a contest--basically, "write a great fic that uses terribly cliche ideas (alicorn OC/2nd person/OC x main six shipping/etc.) but it still amazing."  That contest is now in the public voting round, the judges having narrowed it down to five finalists.  Click below for my reviews of those five stories!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 63: The Song of Syhlex

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

The Alps are up starting today!  Even if you aren't a regular Tour de France viewer, you might want to check it out for the next few days; mountain stages are always the most fun, and because of a few key injuries, this is the most wide-open the race has been in years.  Cycling, woo!

Okay, okay, back to things you all care about (Mystic, I miss you and your cycling-caring-about): my review of The Descendant's The Song of Syhlex, below the break.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 62: The Sisters Doo

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

Carrot cake-flavored candy corn is a thing, in case any of you were wondering.  And in fact, it's a surprisingly delicious thing.  Of course, I like carrot cake and candy corn in their natural states too, but this particular venture into the dollar store candy aisle gets an A from me.

My review of Ponky's The Sisters Doo, below.

Monday, July 14, 2014

When is a Story Done?

There are a lot of steps to writing a fanfic, almost all of them optional.  You can come up with an idea, plan an outline, write a draft, revise, edit, engage the services of a beta reader, modify, edit again... or you can just slam out a thousand words, publish, and hope for the best.  One way will probably give you better results than the other, but both are processes which end with a story.

I'm not interested in talking about that, though.  I'm interested in talking about what happens after you submit your story to the attentions of readers at large.  Click below for my thoughts on what does--or doesn't--come next.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 44

For those of you who are the con-going types and who have some deep-seated desire to meet me in person, it turns out that I know a guy who's going to be presenting at GenCon, and he offered me a free ticket.  So, I'll probably be there!  Honestly, the whole thing was very abrupt, but I figure that I can finagle my way down to Indy for a long weekend.  This'll be my second GenCon, the first being when I was seven years old and they were still holding the thing in Lake Geneva every year, so it'll be a new experience.  I'm pretty excited about the prospect, though!

Anyhoo, mini reviews below!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 61: Best Young Flyer

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

After spending countless man hours, and at the cost of many bothan lives, I figured out how to make that snazzy link to the guest columnist stuff which you should now see at the top of the page.  Kneel before my computer prowess!  Also, consider this your about-two-weeks-to-go reminder; plenty of time to write a post, even if you haven't started yet!  I've got two confirmed posts being worked on, and a few more "maybe"s, so if you're on the fence and would like to give it a try, I could use a few more.  For now, though, enjoy some Chris-written reviewing goodness.  My thoughts on Bookplayer's Best Young Flyer, below the break.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 60: What You Can Imagine

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

The Tour de France is underway, and there's already some good news: Mark Cavendish is out of the race with a dislocated collarbone!  Okay, it's bad news that he's hurt, but that's hardly a career-ender, and it's good news that he's gone; his whining and hypocrisy (on the subject of what is or isn't appropriate contact in a sprint, not on anything non-sports-related that I know of) make him incredibly unlikable to me, and when he's racing I almost don't want to watch flat stages because I don't want to risk seeing him win.

Okay, enough cycling talk.  My review of Darf's What You Can Imagine, after the break.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 43

It's the Fourth of July!  Go eat some hot dogs!  Light some fireworks!  Punch an Englishman in the face!  Make sure you apologize to him afterwards, though; Americans have enough of a reputation for rudeness already.

EDIT: I'm also celebrating with this family tradition.  Figured I'd better get a picture of the finished product so you could all appreciate it properly.  Jello: is there anything it isn't good for?

Mini-reviews, below!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 59: The Irony of Applejack

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

Sorry if this one ends up going up a little behind schedule; I got home late today, and figured I'd rather miss my regular update time by a few minutes than do a rush job.  Hope it was worth the wait!  My take on Mister Friendly's The Irony of Applejack, below.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Teaching Yourself a Lesson You Always Knew

Writing is, at its core, about exchanging ideas.  Sometimes those ideas are new to us, other times they're new spins on well-worn ideas, and still other times they're lessons that we know well, but which bear repeating (sometimes they're none of those things, but... well, that's not ideal).  What I'd like to talk about, though, is what you can learn from writing, and it usually seems to fall into that third category.  Click down below the break for my ramblings.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 42

I forgot to mention this earlier, but there was another minific contest which I bestirred myself enough to enter last weekend; you can see and vote for the entries here--the former indefinitely, the latter through this weekend.  Still, less than 15,000 words isn't really that much, especially when you consider that I'll be concurrently bulling my way through all 180,000-odd words of The Irony of Applejack.  If you're looking for something else to read, though (jeez, there's just no pleasing you), click on down below the break to see my short thoughts on a few recent fics I've read.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 58: Forever Is Forever

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

My sister was recently overseas, and (mostly to make fun of my pony interest, I'm guessing), she got me a Croatian pony magazine as a present.  Joke's on her, though; it came with a little plastic Rainbow Dash that actually looks pretty decent.  He'll be hanging out by the computer for now.

Speaking of Rainbow Dash, get some Dash (and Applejack) stuff with my review of Fon Shaolin's Forever Is Forever, below the break.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Columnists Needed! Details Inside...

Those of you who've followed me for a while know that, both of the last two years, I've skipped off to Arizona for a few weeks in summer, and left this blog in the capable hand of a variety of guest columnists.  If you haven't seen some of the stuff I've gotten, browse through the guest column tag--there's a lot of wonderful advice, opinion, and reviewership collected under that heading.

This year, I'll once again be spending two weeks AWOL, and I'm once again planning to put up some guest posts over that break.  But this year's going to be a little different.  Click down below the break to find out what's going to happen, and how you can get in on it!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 41

When I read a story, it's usually after I download it to my e-reader, rather than on an actual computer screen.  So, since I'm downloading it anyway, I'll then save a copy to the computer itself, in addition to the one I put on the reader (which I almost always delete after reading--otherwise, it gets too cluttered).

Anyway, the point here is that I've got something like a thousand epubs (from FiMFiction) and HTMLs (from gdocs) of fanfics I've read since I started doing that.  I dunno, I feel kind of weird having that much fanfic on my hard drive... but I'm not planning to stop, so I guess that number's only going up.

Anyhoo, here are a few of the more recent additions to that ever-growing list.  Below the break, just like always.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 57: In Celestia We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

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

After seeing that they'd added a "My Little Pony" category, I tried going a few rounds at it on the smartphone app Quizup.  I quickly discovered that I'm remarkably bad at it for someone who's seen every episode, most of them multiple times.  Ah well; normally I'm pretty good at trivia games, too.

Anyway, my review of Georg's In Celestia We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, below the break.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 56: Project: Sunflower

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

If any of you are fans of Bob from Bottles' stories, you might want to go check his FiMFic page--he's re-uploaded most of his writing.  Glad to see that back; I hate to see things disappear from the internet, even if it's only kinda-sorta disappearing, and he's got some gems to boot.

But we're not here to talk about his old stories!  We're here to talk about one of Hoopy McGee's old stories.  Specifically, we're here to talk about Project: Sunflower, the talking-about-which you can find below the break.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Bit of This and That to Tide You Over Over the Weekend

The next Fandom Classic on my list is Project Sunflower, which clocks in at over 200,000 words.  Since (due to work/con last week) I just started reading it on Tuesday... yeah, I'm not close to done yet.  I'm pretty sure I can finish in time to review it on Monday, though!  In the meantime, here are a few odds and ends to see you through the next 72 hours:

1)  You've probably already seen it bandied about elsewhere, but Obs is running a contest: write a story with one or more ideas which are traditionally derided as awful.  As is my curse, I came up with an idea yesterday that I kind of liked... but which I don't think I have any chance of getting it done in time.  Oh, well; it should still be fun to see some other authors' takes on it.

2)  You know what's a good feeling?  When you take a look at your FiMFiction profile and find that you've got half a dozen new notifications... and when you go to see what they are, you find that someone has, over the course of several hours, read and favorited half of your stories.  That's happened to me a few times (and once recently, hence why I'm mentioning it here), and it always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to think that someone just blew an afternoon binging on--and enjoying!--something(s) I wrote.

3)  I watched a World Cup game on Thursday.  Well, it was on in the same room as I was in, anyway; I think I'm to stereotypically American to enjoy soccer.  And while I realize this is a minority opinion, I thought the vuvuzelas from last time around really added something.  They made the event feel more exotic and spectacle-ish, you know?  Ah well, maybe not caring about it will give me more time to write about my alicorn OC and/or finish reading this fanfic.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 40

We pre-empt this intro with some late-breaking news: Equestria Daily and Collins English Dictionary can go straight to hell.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled mini-reviews, below the break.

Monday, June 9, 2014

MLP-MSP: a Retrospective

So, I spent all day Sunday at Minneapolis's first pony-themed convention, MLP-MSP.  The short version is: it was far more fun than I expected, and I had a wonderful time.  If you aren't into tl;dr versions, though, I wrote up my experiences below the break.

My Momma Always Said, Filler Is as Filler Does

If you're seeing this post, it means I haven't yet written up my retrospective on my Sunday trip to the MLP-MSP convention.  It'll go up once I finish writing it, most likely tomorrow morning or afternoon (so, 12-18 hours after this), so look forward to that!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 55: Fiddlesticks!

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

This is a long weekend coming up, but one I'm really looking forward to.  The end of the school year means crunch time to get everything all gussied up and to put bows on the lot, but at the end of that road lies... well, summer!  Plus, I'll be spending Sunday at MLP-MSP--if you're going to be there, say hello!  Sadly, I'll miss the first two days (see: crunch time, end of school year-induced), but I'm still looking forward to checking out one of these "con" thingamabobs.

For now, though, click on down below the break, where I've put together my thoughts on Tigerhorse's Fiddlesticks!

EDIT: Review now comes complete with title!  What a deal!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 13)

This week being what it is, I've done relatively little reading for pleasure.  Granted, it's still around an hour a day, but it's remarkably little by my normal measure.  But that doesn't stop me from being in the middle of a number of things all at once.  Let's take a glimpse at what my non-ponyfic reading material looks like at the moment, shall we?

Notably not included: the newest Dresden Files book, Skin Game.  While I enjoy the series, I don't quite "shell out 20-30 bucks for the hardcover" love it.  And sadly, I forgot to put an early reserve in for it at the library, so it looks like I'll be waiting until I move up the list or the paperback comes out, whichever comes first.  Still, other books!  Below the break.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 39


It's the last week of school, and it seems like every day I'm finding out something new that I either need to do before class lets out on Friday, or that needs to get done before I can get on with Summer.  Somehow, the end of this year is a lot more hectic than last year.  That's not how this is supposed to go; it's supposed to get easier as you go!

So, yeah, mini-reviews below the break.  Enjoy three short thoughts on three short fics while I go back to stressing.