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.