Monday, May 30, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 137

Well, Applejack's "Day" Off was... well, it was certainly an episode.

Carrot Top has little interest in the spa, herself, but Roseluck has been extolling its virtues all week, and she finally agreed to come along on a pampering excursion.  The face you see above is that of a pony who has not yet realized that her "pampering excursion" is going to consist of waiting around for several hours, then eventually going home when the spa closes with no deep-tissue massage, no steam-bath, and sore hooves from standing in line all day.

I mean, yes, Applejack and Rainbow Dash are playing completely against type for no good reason(s), AJ's subsistence-level lifestyle (she still can't afford a single hired hand!) makes less sense with every passing season, and oh my God how big is this freaking spa, not only does it have a main room/tub big enough to fit Steven Magnet but it also apparently has several miles of twisting corridors, how much to Aloe and Lotus charge that they can afford the rent on this super-mansion, but besides all of that, it was... well, completely unmemorable, but not actually offensive.  That's not great, but it's not the worst thing you can be!

Speaking of things that are "not actually offensive," let's talk about fanfiction!  My thoughts on a few recently-read fics, below the break.

Friday, May 27, 2016

GUEST POSTS NEEDED (It's That Time of Year Again)

Before I dive into the meat of this post, let me take a minute to plug the print version of iisaw's The Celestia Code: nice-looking hardcover settings of it are on sale right now for under $20 (including shipping!); you can find out more from the author's blog.  Or, you can go back and read my review of the story, if you're not sure if you need a physical copy yet.

But now, it's time to talk about my plans for the summer!  Click below the break for more, but if you need a tl;dr, here it is:

I'm looking for people to write guest columns which I can post on this site, about either writing, reviewing, ponies, or some combination thereof.  Write something, let me share it, and wallow in the glory of being featured on a MLP fanfic review blog!

Details below the break!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 136

This didn't occur to me until well after I saw Saddle Row and Rec, but there's a really sad story hiding on the sidelines: the tale of how Coco Pommel's promising career nose-dived to the point where she's now stuck in a "sales associate" position for an off-brand boutique.  What happened to her dreams of fashion design, to her costuming work?  How did she fall so far, forced to take a job which will eternally torment her with reminders of what she loves, and what she has utterly failed to do, as she tries to hock another pony's wares to make her weekly quota?  There's a [sad]fic for ya!

Speaking of [sad]fics, here are some sad fics!  Check out my reviews, below the break.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 165: Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger

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

There was a new episode on Saturday--The Saddle Row Review--but I have nothing to say about it.  See, Carrot Top wasn't in that episode.  At all!  I even slow-mo-ed my way through the lengthy line outside Rarity's new store, and nothing!  So... I mean, I could talk about how I felt about the way the episode justified all of the main six's involvement (novel and refreshing), the plenteous off-model facial expressions (grating) or my overall impression (enjoyable, but not terribly memorable; a solid and entertaining episode which doesn't break into my upper-tier), but really, what's even the point?

Instead, let's talk about Hearth's Warming Tail, which I already briefly commented on over on FiMFic.  Don't worry though, I saved the best for you guys:

At this moment, my only regret in life is that Carrot Top's too far in the background for a higher-resolution image

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  LOOK AT THAT DRESS!  LOOT AT THOSE RUFFLES!  LOOK AT THOSE FEATHERS!  LOOK AT THAT CARROT NECKLACE!  I thought that dancing Carrot Top .gif I posed on Wednesday was going to be the highlight of the episode, but OH MY GOD THIS IS THE CUTEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF THINGS

Y'all are on notice: if anyone makes a nice-looking plushie of Carrot Top wearing this outfit, I want to know about it.  I think I've finally found the piece of FiM-merch that I'm willing to spend unreasonable amounts of money on.

Okay, okay, I'm getting to the review, honest!  Click down below the break for my thoughts on AdmiralTigerclaw's Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 135

That's right, it's time for more mini-reviews!  This week, we're doing a long fic/short thoughts edition: sometimes, I read novel-length stories, even when I don't have to.  Now you can find out what I think about them!  Well, about the three that I reviewed this week, anyway.  Check out 300,000 words worth of fic distilled into about a score of paragraphs, below the break.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It's Not Filler, It's Post-Minimalism

I'm home from a long-weekend trip!  I'm also tired and have an annoying stomach bug, so in lieu of content, here's a gif of Carrot Top from the most recent episode:

Carrot Top, shown perfecting her white-people earth pony dance moves

I haven't seen the episode yet, but one of my readers was kind enough to send this along and brighten up my evening.  Context be damned, this is clearly the best party ever.

EDIT:  Lucky wishes to join in the festivities and showcase his own dance moves; who am I to say no?

Either that, or he's an aspiring sumo wrestler practicing his Hatakikomi technique.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 134

I haven't seen the newest episode yet, because I'm out of town!  Knowing my luck, it was probably "The Carrot Top Variety (Half-)Hour," or something equally wonderful.  Oh well, I'll catch it once I'm home on Tuesday.  Before I left, though, I put together a few mini-reviews to keep y'all sated.  Get them below the break!

Friday, May 13, 2016

First Sentences in (Fan)Fiction the 11th

A while back, I asked if anyone wanted to recommend a few fanfics which they'd like to see me look at the first sentences of.  I got a few suggestions... but mostly what I got was "you should write up some of your own first sentences."

I was inclined to dismiss these at first, as it all felt a bit too self-indulgent for me.  But I think there is some value in looking at one's own writing, and apparently, a goodly number of you agree!  I didn't do every fic of mine--it turns out a good chunk of my fanfics start with some variation on "once upon a time," which probably doesn't need a lot of examination--but click below the break to see my thoughts on some of my stories.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 164: Dying to Get There

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

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but if you're interested in physical copies of ponyfiction, check out this blog post of Corejo's.  He's putting together an illustrated printing of a cleaned-up version of the poem from Reading Rainbow, and unlike some of the other printing runs I've seen, the price on this one looks pretty reasonable (15-30 dollars).  More details in his blog!

But for the moment, let's turn our attention away from the realm of physical fiction, and back to screen-bound writings.  My review of Titanium Dragon's Dying to Get There, below.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 133

Well, that was a pretty disappointing episode.  I didn't exactly have high hopes for Newbie Dash, but the combination of character-breaking idiocy (not to mention character-breaking in general; from "egghead" on, Dash has previously shown that she has no trouble grasping the concept of "friendly teasing") from Dash, and a crude "impersonations" gag that felt about fifty times longer than it actually was--and which didn't even make sense to begin with!--pretty well tanked the show for me.

Sometimes, after watching an episode and seeing a few peoples' thoughts, my opinions on the episode change, and in this case, my feelings toward it became even a bit more negative after seeing what other people wrote.  Interestingly, though, it wasn't the people panning the episode who drove it a little deeper on my personal "worst of FIM" list; it was the people defending it.  Although I didn't have a big problem with the hazing when I watched the show (again, friendly teasing--it's how a lot of people bond, especially in highly competitive environments), the way people were defending it was almost entirely using Stockholm logic, trotting out classics like "it's not abuse if it's just verbal putdowns," "That's just how they show love," "If she really didn't want it, she should have said so" (and, when it's pointed out that she did unambiguously show her displeasure, the goalposts are immediately moved to "well, she should have said it more clearly/forcefully/often"), and that classic, "This is what they did to me, and I turned out fine, so I get to do it to you."  Don't get me wrong, I still think that a little jocular mockery is a staple of bonding... but I'm really uncomfortable with the way some of this episode's fans are trying to justify it.

Anyway, the good news is, the beginning and end of the episode were excellent.
 After we headed up to Wonderbolt training, I feared this would be the only Carrot Top we'd see all episode.  Luckily, my patience was rewarded!

Poor Carrot.  Three spacious stands with six levels each, and she still ends up behind the one pony who brings a giant, view-blocking hat.

Anyway, reviews!  Below!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 132

Hope you all had a pleasant Cinco de Mayo!  I mean, it's not like you should ever need an excuse to drink a margarita, but you could say the same about St. Patrick's day and eating corned beef.  Incidentally, when I first found out that corned beef isn't an Irish thing (it's an Irish-American thing; Irish immigrants used it instead of the more traditional boiled bacon, it being easier to obtain on account of Irish and Jewish populations settling in the same neighborhoods), it blew my mind.  Every now and then, some incidental bit of historical trivia does that to me.

But enough about the culinary; let's turn our attention to the literary!  My thoughts on a few old (all 2012-dated, this post!) fanfics I've recently read, below the break.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 163: Twilight Sparkle Gets a Free Salad

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

Man, now I want a free salad.

Well, not so much a free salad, but more a "delivered straight to my desk without me having to get up and assemble it from the random collection of vegetables and leafy greens currently inhabiting my fridge."  Free would definitely be ideal, but that's not the deal-breaker in this scenario.

Sadly, it seems I'll have to do without no-effort salads.  Still, I'll push through and get this review out for y'all.  The sacrifices I make!  Anyway, go check out my thoughts on AestheticB's Twilight Sparkle Gets a Free Salad, below the break.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Episode Talk: S6E6, No Second Prances

Trixie's back!  And you know what that means: time to talk about Carrot Top!

...What?  Oh, you think there's a better story to be had out of this episode?  Well, you don't even know!  Carrot Top's a huge Trixie fan, but she's never truly gotten to enjoy a Trixie show.  The first time Trixie came to town, well...

...Let's just say, it turns out that the girls shouldn't have tried those funny-looking mushrooms Sparkler found growing in the Everfree.   Several hours after the show, Derpy would find Carrot still standing there, staring with that same unblinking intensity at the long-empty stage.  Carrot Top would eventually return home without the vaguest recollection of the content of the show she'd just seen, accompanied by a churning sense of disappointment.

Also, Rarity being a rhymes-with-witch to Carrot Top's visiting cousin, the inexplicably-named Carrot Bottom, really put a damper on the day.  

And of course, the second time, it wasn't so much a "show" as a "hostile takeover."

But now!  Now it's time for a new Trixie episode!  Was it any good?  Does Carrot finally get to see the ultimate act in stage magic, preferably while not in the grip of a powerful hallucinogen?  A few thoughts of mine, below.