plonq: (Whatever)
If I have learned one thing from being in different fandoms, it is that regardless of what you are fans of, people are still people.

The scourge of Mary Sue OCs seems to plague every one that I am in:

"Hi there, I'm Princess Neon Lightshow, and I'm your NEW BEST FRIEND, I'm the daughter of Queen Chrysalis and Lord Emberflame Darkwave, you probably haven't met him, but he's really powerful and evil but I'm nice and moving into Ponyville today, yeah I know I look awesome, but anyway I'm also Princess Luna's student and going to be the best spellcaster in the world someday and blah blah blah..."

NEW BEST FRIEND by ~Geomancing on deviantART
Noting, of course, that this one is obvious satire.
plonq: (Somewhat Pleased Mood)
I keep falling in and out of the habit of writing. This week I fell back into it again thanks to a writing contest that I decided to join on a whim. The contest is being sponsored by a subreddit where the goal is to help starting writers, and the prize is to have your story illustrated by the artists in a subreddit whose goal is to assist starting artists.

At first I felt guilty about writing something to compete against starting writers, but the other two entries I have seen so far are pretty darned good, so I don't think this is going to be a cakewalk. My subject matter is also not something that typically resonates with the fans, to wit, I tried to write something that flows more like an actual episode; no sex, no humans, no violence.

I decided to stay true to myself, even if it hurts my chances in the contest. I guess that makes me one of those narcissistic artistic types I used to make fun of before I became one.

Anyway, the contest rules only said that it had to be short (<20,000 words), complete, original, and finished before the contest deadline (which is Saturday). They did not say that it could not be shared in advance, so I'm sharing it here.

The story is called Majija, which I had written down because I would swear that I'd found a reference to it as an African storm spirit, but I can find no such reference now. Pesky little spirits. I like the name though, so I am sticking with it regardless.

Since I have a couple of days before the contest deadline, I'd love any feedback or criticism anyone feels like offering here (besides "Ponies - ick!").

In case you missed the link above, you can find the story here.
plonq: (Punchy Mood)
I posted the final chapter of my story this morning. I incorporated all of the changes that [ profile] atara suggested (I am so happy to have such a patient editor). Hopefully she does not slap my wrist for the additional changes I made at posting time. She mentioned that the denouement already dragged a bit, so I trimmed out as much as I added.

Story can be found here.

I just hope she is as patient when we start on our co-writing project in a bit. It has been quite a few years since I last co-wrote a story, so we will see how this goes.
plonq: (Kinda Smug Mood)
For those who are following it, the next chapter is up in my story.

I finished the story this morning, but when I sent the final chapter off to [ profile] atara for editing, she noted that it was as long as any two of the previous chapters combined, and she suggested that I might want to cut it into two.

I split it at the logical breakpoint she suggested, and I will post the concluding chapter on Monday.

I have not written a lot of fanfic, at least not recently. My last attempt was a Lion King/Cthulhu crossover that rambled aimlessly for about ten chapters before I lost interest for a number of reasons that I am not going to dig up again here. One of the downsides to writing fanfics - especially parody stories like this one - is that it counts on the reader to have at least a passing familiarity with the subject and characters.

While some of the humour in this story is straight-up slapstick, a fair bit of it depends on the reader knowing the personalities of the actors involved.

Here is a little snip, in case you're not sure which story I am talking about. )
plonq: (Creative mood)
The next chapter in my epic tale of good versus mediocre is posted for public consumption.

Well, not so much epic as satiric. I like to think that I draw inspiration from the greats (Friendship is Witchcraft, Terry Pratchett, etc) and then ruin it.

At this point I know how the story is going to end, I just need to build the bridge.

I am impressed by some of the MLP fan fiction I have read, and equally depressed by some of it. After perusing what is available, I think that I would put myself in the upper 1/3 of the writing talent out there. That sounds impressive until you start reading some of what the bottom 1/3 is producing, and suddenly it becomes more akin to beating a double-amputee in a foot race.

I would like to get a bit more involved in the writing community, by critiquing and helping some of the starting writers, but some of the stuff is so bad that I feel myself slipping into Truman Capote mode as soon as I begin reading. "That isn't writing at all, it's typing." It is hard to slog through a story where the writer seems to think that the only valid form of a verb is the gerund, and punctuation is his personal Kryptonite.

You can try to put a positive spin on it to encourage the writer, but at some point you are reduced to platitudes like, "Your story contained a lot of words. Boy howdy, I counted at least a hundred different, identifiable words in there that appeared in a variety of combinations. Yup, lots of words."

On the other hand, there are a couple of stories that I have been meaning to get back to, but I forgot to favourite them. I need to go back through my Reddit comment history and see when I responded to the author of one of them. If I remember right, that one had all the hallmarks of some wonderful MLP satire.

I like satire.
plonq: (All Business)
Our total driving distance from when we stopped for gas at the south end of town until we parked the car in our garage again was just over 3,000 miles. That's not a bad little road trip in my book. Naturally that included city driving, side-trips and the like, but that is still a lot of driving.

I did it regularly when [ profile] atara and I were still dating.

Aside from the glitch with our hotel room on the way down, everything went smashingly. We saw almost everybody we were hoping to see.

Pinkie Pie was our little mascot for the trip, so if you happen to wander over to my Flickr page you will notice her cute little mug in quite a few of the pictures. This is one of my two favourite shots of her though, posing in front of the condiments at Denny's in Wisconsin Dells. This was the morning after our hotel adventure mentioned in my previous post. I don't know why (other than having Pinkie Pie in it), but I really like the colour and composition of this picture.

What you can't see in this shot is the frighteningly patriotic pictures and wallpaper behind [ profile] atara just out of the right side of this shot.

During one of our off-days in Ohio, we were out cruising for electronics and ponies to take home when [ profile] atara began shrieking and carrying on about the county fair. Apparently she noticed the signs for it, and suddenly it went from being a non-issue to being one of the top items on our itinerary. I don't know why she was so anxious to go there because the last time we went (when we were still dating), I stepped on her foot in the chicken shed and tore some of the skin off her toes. She married me anyway. Must be true love.

I wanted to move the rakes for this shot, but I was not sure if somebody had just left them there, or they were part of the exhibit. It would have been embarrassing to be accosted while moving them aside by somebody yelling about how I was messing up the feng shui of the display. Ohioans and their feng shui - oy.
More pictures and text behind the cut )
plonq: (Twilight Meh)
When half the company goes on strike and your operations roll to a stop, you find ways to occupy your time.

Usually I am pushing out tables and graphs in this application, but today I put it to a slightly better use.
Twilight Calculation

I did most of the coding for this at work while I was languishing on a conference call, but I was running into a puzzling error. It was a pretty short bit of programming, so I recreated it when I got home and finally worked out the bug.

This is quite possible one of the most useless things I have done in awhile, but I am quite pleased with the results.
plonq: (Kinda Smug Mood)
I've heard a some mutterings about how season 1 was better than season 2. I have never entirely agreed, and hopefully today's show will put some of that to rest.

I have to admit though, that there were parts in today's surprisingly intense episode where I was scratching my head and going, "Wait, who's the target audience again?"
Spoiler )


Oct. 22nd, 2011 12:48 pm
plonq: (Twilight Sparkle Clapping Mood)
Season 2 Episode 4 summarized in a single picture (behind a cut because it's a bit of a spoiler).
Read more... )
plonq: (Cheesy Grin Mood)
plonq: (Pale Twilight Mood)
I really thought this would happen in a more dramatic, or at least more heroic fashion. I figured I would hit maximum level while turning in a pile of murloc eyeballs, or escorting an irritatingly slow-moving NPC who I'd rather shiv than save. Instead I dinged 85 while sitting on the wind rider, picking my nose while I flew to the next quest hub.

In other news, I just got off the phone with Sears (again). When they delivered our new washer and dryer on Thursday, they gave us the wrong dryer. We ordered a matching pair of high-efficiency appliances, but when we went down to hook them up later in the evening we discovered that the dryer was not part of the set. Worse, the one that they gave us is several models down from the one we paid for.

When I called it in on Thursday, the girl at their customer centre promised to put in a call for a replacement and said that we would hear back from them no later than today. She also said that we were free to use the dryer we had until the replacement could be delivered. When we had not received a call from them by 17:00, I called them again to make sure we had not been forgotten in the system.

After spending close to ten minutes listening to hold music, I got connected to one of the more surreal call centre experiences I've had in awhile. The line clicked, and I heard people talking in the background. It became obvious to me that somebody's headset was sitting on the desk, and my first thought was, "Oh great, somebody went on break and forgot to log out of their phone."

About thirty seconds later somebody brusquely picked up the headset and there was a great deal of rustling as they put it on. After about 10 more seconds of silence, there was a long-suffering sigh at the other end and a girl tersely said, "Sir, could you please look at the phone number on the card in front of you and tell me which number you think you called?"

I hesitated for a moment and then read the number off to her.

"That's our number," she replied angrily. "but who did you think you were calling?"

"...Sears?" I ventured. Suddenly a light went on. "You know," I said, "I don't think you're talking to who you think you are talking to."

We quickly figured out that the person who had been on the phone had obviously hung up on her when she had put down her headset for a few moments, and I'd been patched through in his place. She almost burst into tears when she realized I wasn't the same person, as much from embarrassment as relief. Apparently this guy had been a real piece of work.

I confirmed that they were going to be sending us a replacement dryer (she double-checked that they had put through the order) and she reassured us that we were welcome to use the wrong one in the mean time since they did not expect us to just live with dirty clothes until a new one could be arranged.

In other other news, [ profile] atara and I planted ourselves in front of her computer and watched Season 2, Episode 2 of MLP:FIM. They set the bar pretty high in the first season, and I was a little worried that the second season might not live up to it. If these first two episodes are any indication then my worries were unfounded. I hope Hasbro sells warehouses full of MLP toys so that they keep making these for a while.

Also Twilight Sparkle is the mostest awesomest pony ever. She was my favourite even before this S2E2, but this just gelled it for me.

I would say more, but some of you probably haven't seen it yet and I don't want to let any spoilers slip through.
plonq: (Pointless Icon)
Stole this from [ profile] xydexx. I was expecting it to be either Twilight Sparkle or Applejack. Apparently I'm too cool for that.

By the way, on a whim today I sifted through Youtube and found part of one of the original MLP series. By god it was awful. I managed to sit through almost 3 minutes of vapidity, filled with characters who would have been indistinguishable but for their names and colours before I had to close the browser window in self defence. That Lauren Faust could take that and turn it into this is no small feat.

Which My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic pony are you?

Rainbow Dash
Bold and brave, you take on anything life throws at you head-on! Everyone knows you're a wild mare; always on the edge and living for adventure. You're also a bit of a show-off- but there's no harm in being confident with yourself! In fact, some people admire your assertiveness: you can stand up for yourself, and if anyone dares challenge you, you'll reply with a big "bring it on!" Your friends can always count on you to swoop in and save them when someone's giving them a hard time, and that makes you one awesome bud indeed.

Take this Quiz · Browse Quizazz

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