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  • 262 weeks
    How To Lose a Month of Your Life

    Right off, just to keep everything straight, this is not a post of alarm, or apology, or even pity. This is a - very abridged - account of everything that happened in the last month as a way of explaining why I haven't logged in, checked in on authors, or emails, let my editing and correspondence fall by the wayside across this site and others, etc. It's not cause for alarm because things are

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    1 comments · 286 views
  • 370 weeks
    Upcoming Schedule

    This is just a note since it's easier to make one blog post rather than individual PMs. If you're reading this and I have no outstanding editing work for you at the moment, this message is safe to disregard.

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    1 comments · 163 views
  • 388 weeks
    Note to Self...

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    0 comments · 165 views
  • 388 weeks
    Answering Some Questions

    I won't lie. This post is highly skippable.

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    0 comments · 300 views
  • 415 weeks
    Day Thirteen Status Report: Still Dead

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    0 comments · 186 views

Answering Some Questions · 3:41am Apr 11th, 2014

I won't lie. This post is highly skippable.

I'm bored at work and just remembered there's a hidden line in my contract with this place that says I have to do something nice for bookplayer every three weeks or she gets to change either my username or avatar into something unflattering. Looking at the last time I did some editing work for her, my three weeks are almost up. Time, then, to answer some questions she recently posted about our headcanons.

As a reference, sometimes I'm going to answer honestly and sometimes I'm going to be a jackass. No, I don't know which questions will spark which side since I haven't actually read them yet as I finish typing up this sentence... now - no wait, now. I'm going in blind. Therefore, any answers dedicated to "you" is simply intended for the royal you fashion. So, if you are reading this, then I have nothing against you. You are a perfectly nice person who must be as bored as I am right now because you haven't stopped yet.

Let's begin.

The Princesses:
1. How old are Celestia and Luna?
Old enough to know it's rude to ask those types of questions.

2. How old is Cadance?
Cadance is the last descendent from a royal line that ruled the Crystal Empire millennia ago. At least until she and Shining Armor have a child. Then that foal will be the last descendent and so on... (did you like how I didn't really answer the question? No?)

3. Were Celestia and Luna always alicorns, or did they ascend?
Since every alicorn we've seen displays dominance over a specific sphere or celestial body (sun, moon, love, friendship, etc.) it is my belief that ascension is a requirement to become one. Since an alicorn appears to display attributes from all three tribes, ascension can only happen after a pony masters inner harmony (that quality the ponies tend run their lives on and around) within itself and whatever influence it seeks to master for the benefit (detriment?) of all ponies. And no, I don't think ponies are the only race that can tap into whatever world/universal magic exists that allows this phenomenon to occur. Griffons, zebras, diamond dogs, dragons, any sentient race is capable of ascension. They wouldn't become alicorns, but they would become whatever the equivalent of one is to them.

4. Are Cadance and Twilight immortal?
Nothing is immortal. The life of a pony might be an eyeblink to an alicorn, but everything dies eventually. Celestia will die when the sun burns out. Luna will die when the moon loses its connection to the world, most likely around the time the sun turns into a red giant and either absorbs it or severs its gravitational hold. Going on a bit of tangent now, but yes, I do believe that Celestia is fated to destroy her sister in the end. And I think Luna's intelligent enough to know this. It makes the family dinners a not-awkward-at-all treat.

5. Have there been other alicorns in the past?
Like I said, nothing is immortal. And certainly nothing living is invulnerable. Alicorns can die, they're just a little harder to bring down.

6. How much authority do Celestia and Luna have in Equestria?
The show hasn't been shy at showing Equestria to be similar to a monarchy. It might not be absolute de jure (Ponyville has a mayor), but it's probably absolute de facto. Unlike human kings that only claimed to be vessel to the Gods, if not a God outright, these Princesses actually wield divine magic. Headcanon says the level of their authority only stops at the level of immersion into any specific affair they choose to set.

7. Does Shining Armor rule The Crystal Empire along side of Cadance?
Yes... in the exact same way that I rule the house alongside my wife. Ha ha... hah... *sigh*

8. Other than Twilight, Luna, and Cadance, what relationships have been important to Celestia in her lifetime (students, close friends, lovers, family)?
Well, there's Sunset Shimmer, and I'm sure there were other students before her and Twilight. Then there are her parents and any non-ascended relatives, unless you think Celestia and Luna were immaculately conceived, and I don't. Advisors, lovers, adversaries (never said it had to be a good relationship)... it's a long list.

Ponies and Equestrian Culture:
9. Are there still cultural differences between earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns, or is the culture homogeneous by the time shown in canon? Are there cultural stereotypes (positive or negative)?
Cultural homogeny cannot exist when one tribe can plant literal and figurative roots, one tribe can walk on clouds and manipulate weather, and one tribe can display feats of telekinesis and other magical prowess. So long as there are differences, stereotypes will naturally abound ("just look at those stripes!"). That said, by the time the show airs, any stereotypes would be relatively benign and spawned more from ignorance than anything hateful or superior. Now, once upon a time however...

10. Are there foods or items native to Cloudsdale that are uncommon on the ground? Are there foods or items on the ground that are uncommon in Cloudsdale?
In terms of cultivation? Yes, I imagine it's hard to have a tomato garden 10,000 feet in the air. But commerce and trade being what it is in the show, I doubt anypony's left wanting. As for items, well, I imagine something like hang gliders would be a fairly unusual sight in Cloudsdale, the same way that it would probably be hard to find a cloud bed in Ponyville.

11. Can all unicorns learn all spells, given the time and effort spent practicing them, or is magical talent usually limited in some way?
Just because some humans can run a 4.4 40-yard dash, doesn't mean every human can. Just because some unicorns can learn age spells doesn't mean all unicorns can. Sometimes, natural talent comes into play. There's a reason Celestia's school was for gifted unicorns and not just unicorns.

12. Earth pony magic: Does it exist? What is it?
It's in the roots and fields and farms. It's strength and stability. It may not be as visually apparent as unicorn magic or pegasus magic, but it's there.

13. Some pony families we’ve seen seem to have naming conventions (the Apples, Twilight’s family) and others don’t appear to (Rarity’s family, Pinkie’s family), which is more common? Are there reasons for one or the other?
I think Pinkie and Twilight should be switched in the example provided, but I get the point. Uhhh... I never saw it beyond some ponies have one name and some have two, the same way that some people didn't have middle names back in the day. As for surnames, some become part of the pony's identity and some don't. It's possible the surname for Rarity's family is Belle. If so, then it makes sense for Sweetie to associate it with her name, given her singing talents. And it makes sense that Rarity doesn't. And yes, I know Belle could just be Sweetie's second name too.

14. How much formal schooling is an average, middle class pony expected to complete?
I see education in Equestria along the lines of how it used to be in the early 20th century in America. Primary schools, funded by local ponies' tax bits, offer knowledge on nationally approved subjects like math and history. Secondary schools and universities exist for those seeking a more specific level of education, like business management or teaching. Otherwise, you'd either apprentice yourself in a trade school or head on out to the working world for entry-level positions. I imagine most ponies are done when they finish their primary education though (at 16 or 18 or 21 or whenever it is you're considered an adult in Equestria). Also, I've yet to witness a pony, outside Twilight, receive homework.

15. What’s the average lifespan for a pony? At what age is a pony expected to be independent of their parents?
Faust had her vision. I don't adhere to it, the idea that you're an adult by age three like a real horse. I see it similar to humans. Current world average is around 67 years, but I'll bump it because Equestria doesn't appear to have as many wars and terminal ailments. So, around 80 years average expectancy. As for independence, I'll go by what I know and say 18. It fits with how old I view the Main Six.

16. Are there roughly an equal number of male and female ponies?
Nope. Them bitches be everywhere.

17. How informed are most ponies about things that happen in other parts of Equestria? What about other parts of the world?
Once more with feeling, "Just look at those stripes!" And that was from a pony who tries to appear sophisticated and worldly. Assuming Rarity does a decent job acting as if, then I imagine this reflects how most ponies don't know too much about what happens in other cities in Equestria beyond big newsworthy and/or social events. Less so when it comes to the world beyond.

The Main Characters:
18. How old are the Mane Six? Spike? The CMC?
At the start of the show, season 1 episode 1, I figure Dash and Pinkie are 21. Twilight and Fluttershy are 22. Rarity's 24. And Applejack's 25. Spike would be somewhere between 10-12, which means he's still a baby when you look at it in dragon years. The CMCs are at the cusp of getting their cutie marks, i.e. puberty, so I think they're around 11-12 also.

19. Did Fluttershy remain on the ground after getting her cutie mark? Were she and Rainbow Dash friends all along, or did they drift apart for a while?
Nope. Fluttershy may have a draw to the ground but it doesn't change the fact that her acquirement of a cutie mark was a happy accident. She's still got family, school, and given her age in my head she's not yet old enough to be independent. So it's back to the sky for her, where she and Dash stay friends, right up until the point when Dash leaves Flight School for whatever reasons. There's a brief lull while each pony finishes their education/training/whatever, followed by a happy reunion when they both arrive in Ponyville. In my head, Fluttershy arrived first.

20. Rarity and Applejack both seem to have grown up in Ponyville. What were their interactions like before the show?

21. What do Twilight and Spike consider their relationship to be?
Since it's what they think it is and not what I think it is... then Twilight is to Spike exactly what Applejack is to Apple Bloom: a big sister and a surrogate mother.

22. When did Pinkie move in with the Cakes? Is she a worker who rents a room, an apprentice, or is there some other relationship?
"Pinkie Pride" shows a young Pinkie in Ponyville showing off and entertaining its residents. I can only imagine that Pinkie left home at an early age and not long after she discovered her special talent. The Cakes are kinda like foster parents/bosses since she works for them as a baker's apprentice. Now how the Cakes and Pies know each other is whole 'nother tale entirely, one that reaches far back into the dark annals of Equestrian blood feuds. Hatfield vs. McCoy has got nothing on Cake vs. Pie, I promise you. To this day, Pinkie's bridge between worlds is a testament to her strong, affable nature.

23. Who among the Mane Six had the best parents growing up? The worst parents?
Best parents: Twilight's, who seemed to want for nothing.
Worst parents: Applejack's, 'cause they're dead! DEAD I TELL YOU! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!
Ok, seriously, worst parents: Pinkie's, I guess. If only because she was raised in an environment that actively squashed her unique abilities and who the hell knows how long she would have stayed a repressed and joyless pony if Dash hadn't triggered a sonic rainboom.

24. Why didn’t the CMC hang out more/know each other before Call of the Cutie?
Friends change and social circles fluctuate and split like an amoeba. I don't think the CMC really cared all that much about cutie marks until they became practically the last three in their class to get one. Once they had something unique to bond over, they discovered other things about each other they liked and became fast friends. Seriously, does Apple Bloom hang out with Twist at all anymore?

25. Is Scootaloo an orphan? Will she ever be able to fly?
No, I think Scootaloo is just a little embarrassed by her parents. My favorite theory is that they're a pair of nerds. And yes, she will fly one day. She'll be closer to Fluttershy's ability than Dash's, but it will happen. However, her talent for turning tricks on her scooter will more than make up for that deficiency.

26. Will Apple Bloom’s cutie mark involve an apple in some way, even if it’s unrelated to farming or baking?
No, she's too industrious. And lovably neurotic but I digress... Anyway, in my head her cutie mark is an open apple blossom to go with her talent for creating. I see her as the pony that ultimately takes Sweet Apple Acres into the modern world and does it the right way.

27. How is Sweetie Belle’s relationship with their parents different than Rarity’s was?
Well, Sweetie Belle shows no embarrassment over where she came from so I imagine her relationship with her folks overall has more communication in it than when Rarity was her age. Rarity... just operates on a different wavelength than her parents. I imagine she loves them dearly, and they her, but they just don't have a lot of common ground to talk about.

Side and Background Characters:
28. Is Mr. Cake the father of the Cake twins or not?
The worst kept secret in Ponyville is that Mr. Cake is into cuckolding. He likes to watch.

29. Are Big Mac and Cheerilee an item, romantically?
I suppose they could be. I never really gave them much of a thought together but I don't have definite, unbreakable partners for them either. So... all things are true.

30. How did Prince Blueblood get his title?
By being related to Celestia. Like I said earlier, in my headcanon she's an alicorn, not an allegory for the Virgin Mary. She's got relatives who never ascended and they carry with them, at a genetic level, some of that royal blood. I hope you all have seen "Dogma."

31. Is Silver Spoon equally as bad as Diamond Tiara?
It depends on the situation. Do I think Silver is secretly dominated by Diamond Tiara, and really is considerate to other ponies? No, I think they really are friends and act bratty towards others over some superiority complex. Do I think she's less cunning than Diamond Tiara? No, and in some ways she's shown to be a bit subtler, but just as effective, with her cruelty. Do I think she'd be vengeful and go out of her way to destroy those that slight her? Well... no, in that scenario I don't think she's as bad as Tiara. Silver Spoon has no problem humiliating you. Diamond Tiara, however, will absolutely crush you if she ever has an opportunity.

32. Is Zecora’s magic common among zebras?
Yes, her potions and alchemy are a foundation of zebra magic and their overall society. Though I do think Zecora is one of the more talented of her race, and most zebras aren't quite as proficient.

33. Why does Daring Do publish her stories as fiction?
Insurance liability, of course. I mean, imagine you're a publisher and you want to sign A.K. Yearling to a three or four book deal. Can you imagine any scenario where you don't heavily backload that contract in case she fails to deliver the books because she died? If you're A.K. Yearling, would you take that risk? I'll keep quiet, take the money now, and publish them as fiction thank you very much.

34. Do you have a strong headcanon for any non-speaking or one line background ponies that you want to share?
Flitter (Breezy episode) and Cloudchaser (Wonderbolt Academy) are more than one-liner background ponies these days, so no.

Other Species:
35. Does Equestria differentiate between speaking and non-speaking species, in terms of respect, rights and legal responsibilities? Is there some other line or scale used? (For example, how are cows classified? Diamond Dogs? A chimera?)
Any species willing to accept the ideals of harmony are allowed to exist with full rights within Equestria's borders. That's why the diamond dog clan in the rocky highlands are avoided (I firmly believe there are other less hostile diamond dog clans in the world), whereas the griffons have at least one settlement (or one mixed-species settlement) and are allowed to represent in the Equestrian Games. Non-speaking species, dogs like Winona or cats like Opal, probably have animal rights. And I imagine wild animals have rights to protect against being hunted too aggressively.

36. Do other speaking species form their own nations, or are all nations largely integrated, with some having larger populations of a species than others?
There are other nations, largely represented by one race, but integration does exist, particularly where goodwill exists. I doubt you'll find many ponies in dragon lands. But in the griffon territories? Sure. There are griffons living in Equestria, after all. And I imagine in large cities like Manehattan or Fillydelphia you'll find a veritable melting pot, though ponies will always make up the majority.

37. Are minotaurs related to cows at all?
Do you think Saddle Arabians are related to ponies? If yes, then minotaurs and cows share a relation too. If not, then no. I personally go with the former. The two species share similar ancestors but sometime long ago their evolutionary paths diverged. It'd be like if neanderthals were still alive today.

38. Do all zebras rhyme?
Of course, my dear, all the time.
Galel an'nama bithio'shi tell simi lalum'a wan asha halossa an'i? {I mean, how else are we supposed to handle your guttural, toneless pony tongues?}

39. Do zebra cutie marks work the same way as pony cutie marks?
In that they showcase a special talent? Yes, I believe they do. However, since zebra society is not founded on the concept of harmony, but rather an attunement with the world itself and its natural elements, cutie marks and respected talents can sometimes be more abstract.

40. Do any species have types of magic, other than ponies and zebras?
Yes, all of them. Every sentient species has its own world magic that it can tap and its own version of the Elements of Harmony (whether they've discovered them or not depends). For example, I have griffons as structured around a more militant society and so their magic is reflected not through harmony, but notions of valor, sacrifice, justice, mercy, etc.

41. Is the lack of buffalo presence in Equestria cultural, or simply because most pony towns aren’t built to accommodate a full grown buffalo?
Mostly the latter, but also because Equestria has only recently started butting up against the buffalo plains. So interaction has only been recent. I'm sure with growth and communication, border towns like Appleloosa will be more accommodating.

Headcanon and You:
42. Do you consider official sources other than the show (comics, card game text, movies, novels, etc.) to be canon?
Sure. Have I read any of them? Sadly, no.

43. Do you have one headcanon that you always use, or do you switch depending on projects?
I have a world headcanon that's fairly static. But individual characters or situations might change depending on the project. For example, I have two projects that are AppleDash related and both are "starting a relationship" themed fics. Since they both accomplish the same thing, getting Applejack and Rainbow Dash together in different ways, which one is my true headcanon? Well, both. They're both true in two separate versions. Best way to describe it is like in that show "Sliders." Infinite Earths, each one unique in some way.

44. Can you easily accept the headcanons of different writers? Do you prefer when stories match your headcanon?
I love it when an author's headcanon matches my own but I have no illusion that my interpretations are in anyway superior. Honestly, I love seeing a different approach, especially when it's well written. I love seeing the creativity others come up with.

45. Is there a part of your headcanon that you wish was more popular among writers?
No. If I were ever to release fics, and they somehow get popular, and people want to emulate my headcanon... then ok. I'll do a silent fistpump then. Until then, I'm not going to shake my head at authors for not knowing what's in my head.

46. Is there a popular piece of headcanon that other writers use that you dislike?
Not really. I guess what I dislike the most is when someone goes fanatical over some widely popular headcanon or fanon. For example, if someone writes a fic where Octavia hooks up with someone other than Vinyl Scratch and people get pushy in comments, saying how it shouldn't be that way, that's annoying. If I decide to write a story where Cloud Kicker isn't a promiscuous ex-guard pony, I don't want someone telling me I'm doing it wrong. It's a background character. I'll write her however I like. But I tend to dislike fanaticism in almost every instance.

47. Have you ever written a story or blogpost just to explain some part of your headcanon (other than this one)?
No, but maybe I should. Like most people I tend to write more when I've got a story fresh in my mind. So if I ramble about my headcanon more, maybe I'll actually finish something pony related as opposed to other fandoms. Hmmm...

48. Does your headcanon influence things like your favorite pony, ship, or episode?
Nope, though I do get a small, little thrill when canon supports my headcanon. For instance, I've always felt that Rainbow Dash's disdain for formal learning (from a book) was because she secretly thinks she's dumb and incapable of learning. It's an incorrect self-assessment, but that's part of her character to me. Then "Testing, Testing" comes out and Rainbow Dash refers to herself as a dumb pony after she can't succeed at formal learning. And then she recognizes her way of learning. That made me feel good.

49. Would it bother you if the show proved part of your headcanon wrong? Any specific piece that would really bother you to lose?
No. If you're going to write fiction for a series that's ongoing, you better learn to adapt. Or work it so the canon still fits for you. Didn't like Twilight getting her wings? Write fics and tell your audience it's all set before the season 3 finale. Easy. Rarity finally finds her prince in some future episode and destroys your OTP of her and Fluttershy? Write a fic down the road where she and that asshole stallion - HOW DARE HE?! - break up and she realizes Fluttershy was always the one for her. Or write a polyamory fic with the three of them. But adapt, seriously. It isn't the end of the world.

50. Is there something that wasn't asked about here, but you feel like you need to explain to everyone?
Well, I know it's late and if you made this far (doubtful), you're probably hoping for something quick but meaningful. I've put a lot of thought into these last few words of wisdom I wish to leave you with, so please bear with me until I finish...


... I've always had a huge crush on Salma Hayek.

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