More Blog Posts182

  • 24 weeks
    Dear Ponies, Allow Me to Play You Out

    Here in Canada, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. And so for myself and other Canadian bronies, the timing of Pony's finale, almost to the day, is quite fitting.

    But really, who needs a red-letter day for thankfulness? This event may be bittersweet, but we can all be thankful for the good times, for the lessons that help us, for our creations, and for each other.

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    6 comments · 213 views
  • 26 weeks
    My Interview at BronyCon: Slightly Less Cringey Than I Expected

    "Um, uh, uh, er, um, uh, y'know..."

    Surprise, everyone! One of my fans, Tyler Hinton, managed to find me at BronyCon 2019 and ask for an in-person interview. The result: About six minutes of me spilling my guts, interspersed with ten minutes of "um's." Luckily, Tyler edited the boring parts out, so my long, rambling answers don't drag on too much.

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    6 comments · 164 views
  • 28 weeks
    "I Cast a Deadly Shadow" Audiobook by Scribbler Productions, et al

    Just in time for Friday the 13th, Scribbler Productions have released the audio production of my contest-winning story, I Cast a Deadly Shadow. Many thanks and kudos to the voice actors: Goombasa, Neighrator Pony, Luna Farrowe, Wubcake, and of course Scribbler herself, for successfully scaring me with my own story.

    Have a listen below, but beware--it earns its Grimdark warning.

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    0 comments · 98 views
  • 33 weeks
    How to Keep This Crazy Ride Going

    Hey, you. Yes, you. Got the post-con blues? Afraid the ride is slowing down? Flutterpriest just posted a very insightful article, with lots of good ideas on how to keep it going. It's simpler than you might think.

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    11 comments · 274 views
  • 34 weeks
    Reblog: Ponyfeather Publishing Direct Purchasing

    Hey everyone,

    If you wanted a physical copy of my book but were unable to get it from the Golden Oak Bookstore, fear not, because RBDash47 has you covered:

    Read More

    0 comments · 201 views

This is Your Brain on Mercury · 8:34pm May 5th, 2016

Looking around the Pony fandom, it's clear that a lot of us are here because we have Big Problems. I see a lot of people suffering from clinical depression, or transgenderism, or autism spectrum disorders--things that make day-to-day living difficult. You can't blame people for seeking a little temporary relief in flights of equine fancy.

My own case is unusual, because it was not until two weeks ago that I realized the nature of my own Big Problem.

I was a sickly child, and grew into a sickly adult. But as I gained more agency with age, I began studying the science of health, singling out problems and fixing them with supplementation and life hacks. But still, issues persisted: I got sick easily, my memory was always full of holes, exercise made barely any difference, I garbled words while trying to speak normally, and on and on and on. What was I missing?

The answer came in a flash of insight one morning a little less than two weeks ago. Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of elemental mercury, mostly through fish and dental fillings. Lots of people are exposed to these, but my own case would of course be more severe, on account of hereditary gingivitis and a parental ban on the flesh of cloven-hoofed animals--the latter necessitating fish as a main dietary protein. It would be naive to think this had not had some effect.

I did some research on mercury poisoning (I know it's not good to self-diagnose, but I'm going somewhere with this). Symptoms include emotional instability, insomnia, muscle weakness, memory loss, peripheral vision impairment, compromised immune system, and impairments in speech and hearing--all of which I suffered from for years. Worst of all, mercury is a neurotoxin, meaning that too much of it causes brain damage. The expression "mad as a hatter" came from nineteenth-century hat-makers being exposed to it as part of the manufacturing process.

Now for the good news.

The human body is capable of amazing feats of self-repair, provided it is given the right material to work with. I devised a two-pronged attack for this problem, with the objectives of removing any remaining toxin and restoring damaged brain and nerve tissue.

For the first objective, I got Selenium and Broken Cell Wall Chlorella, to neutralize and eliminate the toxin, respectively. For the second, I take the maximum dose of Gingko Biloba and a triple dose of Turmeric--that is, one of each three times a day. The former permeates the blood-brain barrier, allowing access for the latter, which stimulates the growth of the brain's stem cells.

You've heard of "crazy pills." These together are honest-to-goodness sanity pills.

In a little under a fortnight, there have been exciting developments. I've begun remembering the names of acquaintances--easily, in fact. Conversations now flow almost naturally, with few if any flubbed words on my part. My hearing is getting better. I started lifting weights again for the first time in a year, and am gaining strength at nearly twice my former rate.

More changes appear every day. As I write this, the words come easily. All my life, writing anything well was usually a struggle. After years of suffering and making a fool of myself, I'm ready to start properly living.

I should be happy, but all I can think of is the time I wasted being sick. In the past four years, I wrote most of the short stories I wanted to, but my novel ideas languished. I could take a crack at one now, but there isn't much of a market for such anymore. The worst is, I don't think I presented myself properly to people at last year's Everfree Northwest, instead coming across as a bit of a fool. Perhaps there will be time for a do-over next year.

I'm trying to remind myself it could be worse. The people I alluded to earlier have much bigger Big Problems, and knowing what it's like to face difficulties day by day, I'm resolved to treat them with more compassion than I sometimes have. (Damn it all, now I'm getting misty.)

What now? Well, I plan to stay on this program until the improvements stop. All this coincides with a period of unprecedented calm in my personal life, so why wait? Tomorrow I plan to tell the good news to my rather large extended family, and after that I'll be out of excuses. Fimfiction's traffic may be on a downward trend, but I think I have at least one more story in me--one more chance to thrill and chill my remaining readers. And then, who knows?

Until next time, I remain yours truly,
Horse Voice

If you're thinking of making a "metalhead" joke, rest assured GaryOak already has. :raritywink:
I wrote much of this yesterday, then went for a walk, and halfway home realized my peripheral vision had come back. It was all I could do not to laugh and cry all at once.

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Comments ( 56 )

Yay! It's always wonderful when you get a clue as to things that are obstructing you. I've done a lot of that in my life. :duck:

Author Interviewer

what the fuck o.o And it was that easy to clean up?

Congratulations! Don't dwell on the problem now that you've solved it. Exult in the solution, especially if it means you have an idea you want to put on the site.

Wow, it is really refreshing to hear some good news here for once. I follow quite a lot of authors here and the mass of bad juju that seems to affect people here can be a tad depressing at times.

Keep up the good fight!

Rock on, dude! I'm happy for you! :pinkiehappy:

I'm super happy for you, having been in a similar situation, myself. It feels so much better on this side of the problem, doesn't it?

I see someone else already said it, but do try not to focus too much on the problem now that you've solved it. Keeping looking forward, and I'll keep looking forward to your newer stories. I've always enjoyed your writing, and I can't wait to see what the new and improved Horse Voice has in store for us.


Damn straight. :rainbowdetermined2:


Once I knew how, yes. Crucially, it was not so severe a case that I lost all functionality; and I spent years reading articles about health-nuttery and experimenting with supplements before I settled on these. I had already had some success with Magnesium and Vitamin B12, which probably now contribute to my recovery. The real secret ingredient is the Biloba, because a nutrient can't do its job if it can't get where it needs to go.

3922550 3922559 3922560 3922561 3922567

Thanks, guys. That helps a lot at a time like this. And that's right, of course--it's better to look forward rather than back. :pinkiehappy:

I hereby present you with the 'did my own miracle' award. Well done sir.

Site Blogger

That's incredible! Congratulations.

I would be 100% okay with seeing a longer story or novel come from you. As nice as one-shot are, I really crave a nice, juicy slab of literature to chew my way through.

That said, my particular Big Problem comes with a bonus skill of around 900-1000 wpm reading speed. Yeah. I don't consider anything under 60,000 words to be 'decent' in size. I can finish a million word story like Fallout: Equestria in a week on breaks and lunches alone.

Rambling aside, I'm glad you're feeling better, and can't wait to see what comes out of all of this!

That's great news, congrats!


I recently had a similar turn around. I found out my weight and depression and lethargy were all tied to an EXTREMELY low metabolism. fixed with a single small pill that has no side effects.

It's amazing how great it feels to just finally have an answer to your problem, and to see & feel the treatment working.
I'm glad you've been able to find it for yourself. :pinkiehappy:

I don't really know you, but it's great to hear nonetheless. Congrats!


That is kind of what it is, isn't it? I'll remember that for rough times.


:rainbowderp: It's true what they say about too much of a good thing. But hell, maybe I just needed the reminder that I have such readers. And I am running out of excuses. Hmmm...


You're darn right; it's really "the first day of the rest of your life." Incidentally, I might know someone with a similar problem. What's the name of the pill?

Wow, good news is... really good!

I'm glad you've taken control of your situation. I think that even the basic concept of nutrition in North America has completely derailed because of the industrialized, prepackaged western diet. People used to know what went into their bodies because they prepared their own food. Now, they're pushing stuff made out of sight, containing who-knows-what preservatives and additives made to prolong shelf life, not your life!

The problem is that people in general lack the agency to do anything about it. All they need to do is learn to prepare their own food.

This is a refreshing change from the many depreesing blogs people post.

"I see," said the blind man to his deaf and dumb daughter as he picked up his hammer and saw.

It is pretty amazing how much of a difference a few small changes can make.

Hope you continue to see improvement. :twilightsmile:

Also, are you going to this year's Everfree Northwest, or were you referring to the one next year?

I tried supplements and such. Last thing I had essentially flushes my skin bright red and overheats me. Maybe I just have shit luck. Glad to see you found something that works for you though and good continuing luck on getting your life back.

First of all, major congratulations! That is awesome, and that sort of amazing turnaround is worthy of celebration. Full stop.

(It's also fucking amazing that we live in an age of information where you were able to do that research and fix yourself. Throughout most of human history you'd have basically been doomed to the rest of your life being more of the same.)

That said, you're clearly doing something right — and nothing I say should be construed as advice to stop what's working, because experience trumps theory every time — but if you do suspect mercury poisoning, I strongly suggest doing further research and/or talking to some doctors, because I think there's more to work on here.

The thing about selenium is not that it's cleaning the mercury out of your body — it's used by the brain for selenoenzymes, and it binds to mercury, so basically mercury causes a selenium deficiency. (Here's a paper on that.) Taking supplements may well be fixing the problem simply by letting your brain fire those bits that it's been too starved of selenium to use, but as far as I can tell it's not actually cleaning the mercury out.

This is where my layman's knowledge boils down to: see a doctor. Your next step should be to get tested for mercury levels — that is a thing that can be done, and it'll let you know if selenium supplements are enough, or whether there's more to address here. That might also offer you a little more information that will allow you to adjust your supplements for maximum effect without experimentation, and to make sure that all of the supplements you're taking are equally contributing toward the cure.

Either way, I'll repeat: congratulations! And even if we're seeing fewer people here than we used to, a good featurebox hit can still pull in multiple thousands of views, which is nothing to sneeze at. Don't give ponyfic up just yet — just start figuring out how to use it as a springboard into the other things you want to write! (The Writeoffs, for example, are hosting an original fiction competition next week.)


All very true, but my case was one of well-meaning ignorance. Wild ocean fish is healthy, so lots and lots of it should be healthy, right?


Thx. :twilightsmile: Unfortunately, I can't possibly make it till next year. Don't tell me... I'll miss your appearance there, won't I.


Ouch. :fluttershyouch: The trouble with supplementation is that it's not an exact science, since everyone's body chemistry is different. So it's a big investment of time and money, trying things and seeing what works. But as you've seen, it's not for everyone.

Congratulations, friend! The human body is truly amazing, is it not? :twilightsmile:


Throughout most of human history you'd have basically been doomed to the rest of your life being more of the same.

I know, right? Just thinking about it sends a chill up my back.

The thing about selenium is not that it's cleaning the mercury out of your body [...]

I probably should have phrased that bit better, because you're right. But I've taken selenium in the past, without the dramatic improvements I'm seeing now. Still, there's no reason not to see a doctor; perhaps I'll go tomorrow. The Chlorella is what actually cleans out the metal itself, though, so I don't know how much might be left to find.

On the state of pony fiction, I intend to go down with the ship, if it comes to that. But perhaps we'll coast as we are for a time yet. I'll now have to re-evaluate my position on things like writeoffs, because while previously there was no way I could produce anything in so short a time, I have no idea what my limits will be once this treatment is complete. Exciting times indeed. Next week may be too soon, but perhaps the one after...? :trixieshiftright:

I'm very happy for you! It's great that there is a cure for the aliments that have plagued you you for so long. I hope you don't leave FimFiction or the fandom, though; you are a good writer and I and many others (I'm sure) enjoy your stories.

Do you really think FimFiction is on a downward trend? I hope not but would like to hear why you think it has.

The writeoffs now have a schedule!

Also, the one a week from this weekend is a minific competition, so if you've got a few hours free to whip up something 400-750 words, it's not a weekend-eater like the short story competitions are. (I'll try to enter myself, but I'll be at a con.)


And thank goodness for that!


I ain't goin' nowhere, nohow. My concern is a gradually shrinking audience. Fimfic is still a happenin' place, but it's been more happenin' in the past, if you catch my meaning. Still, there's nothing wrong with playing to small audiences, and if the responses of yourself and others are any indication... well, I just can't leave. :twilightsmile:


Thanks. And good to see you around. :pinkiehappy:


The ol' hard sell, eh? :raritywink:

In the past, I've tried things like these and been the only one to turn in a blank page. That's why these will be great for testing my repaired brain. That said, I don't think the repairs are done yet, and I need to get back into practice first. Wish me luck!

Yeah, this sort of thing seems common around here, and it's always great to hear about someone bettering themselves, one way or another. I myself am no exception, but I still can't imagine the sort of hardships you've been through. For the record, I've been taking pills to treat my Big Problem for so long I can't even remember the year I started, and I'm practically normal at this point. It helps when your father is a psychiatrist and can figure out what's up. Anyway, yay you!

Well, if I have fun this year, I'll probably be back next year. :twilightsmile:


Wild ocean fish is healthy, so lots and lots of it should be healthy, right?

There's one cardinal rule I observe for good health, taught to me by my dad who lived to the age of 94: The safest policy for food is moderation in quantity and variety in consumption!

As one of those ones with a Big Problem (the middle one. And I guess the first one), life is night and day when you make headway on them. I've...I hesitate to say 'beaten' depression, because I feel it's like an addiction - I have it under control, but I know it's always possible I could relapse. But for about 3 years now I've been in an increasingly better place there, and life is night and day.

And #2? it's scary, but the world around me is getting better. I'd shudder to have to deal with it at my age 20 years ago, where...seriously, that idea is terrifying. But these days? I can open up to most people and the answer is 'Oh. Well. Good luck!' at worst in 90% of cases. The worst I've seen is people classifying it as a 'It's not real, you're mentally ill', and well - I pity them, but at the same time? I'm kiiiinda siding with the experts who after 50 years of trying have said there's only one medically viable solution here.

And truthfully, even if there was a mental instead of physical solution? I'd want the physical. I know who I am, and that includes gender identity; to live as my birth gender would be a lie, and like...well. An easy example is : If you could grow back a lost leg, or take a pill to be completely blissful with having a missing leg, which would you do? Yea. Some people might keep the lost leg, but I think most would recognize that the problem here is with the body, not the brain. Gender identity is the same way, really.

3923080 Levothyroxine, but I'm pretty sure a prescription is needed.
In my case, they ran a blood test and found my hormone levels for thyroid were at 105. Normal range is 4-7, with lower being a faster metabolism, so mine was RIDICULOUSLY slow. :rainbowderp:

Hey, it may be on a downward trend right now, but if Knighty finishes the General Fiction project?

Sky's the limit, then. Won't be pony-specific, but I'd say the internet is loooooooooong overdue for an actually good general free fiction-hosting service. You wouldn't believe how terrible the other sites out there are...

Or maybe you already know first-hand? Regardless, you'll have plenty you can write about while staying in the same community, with a big new audience to boot. When that'll finally happen though is anyone's guess, however. :rainbowlaugh:

I really wish I could send you a hug right now. I'm so very happy for you. I don't know I didn't get the sense of Toolness last time we met. You seemed like a pretty cool cat. And the thought of you being able to flourish so much more now gives me joy. There's a small small chance I might make it up to BronyCan if I do I hope to see you there.

EDIT: When I first used my text to voice system for this it thought I said that the thought of you being able to flirt so much more now gives me joy.

Do eet
Do eet naow
I command hyu!

Your stories are some of my favourites, full stop.

Massive congratulations on "fixing" yourself, for lack of a better term. The sky's the limit, now!

Site Blogger

I still lurk in the shadows of ponyfic, occasionally emerging into the harsh light to cast boons and/or aspersions where appropriate.


Ooh, awesome to hear! It really is amazing how fast things can turn around once you figure out how to fix the underlying problems.

At least in my case, it's actually been the other way around. Some people like making food, but it drives me crazy - I have too little time without burning a couple extra hours per day on something I don't enjoy - so I always focused on minimizing prep time as much as possible. That meant skipping a lot of healthy foods, since making them palatable enough to stand eating regularly takes way too long. Once local stores started stocking good-tasting healthy premade options at competitive prices, the overall quality of my diet jumped dramatically.

You're one of the few who've at least recognized the problem for what it is, and luckier than some in that you can find healthy prepared food. But you have to be vigilant - it's awfully tempting for food vendors to sprinkle a few nitrates on prepared foods to keep them looking fresh – and sell-able – longer!


Thank you. If you're like me, you've noticed how odd "normal" feels once you get there. And it really is good to hear about a life improved--back acha. :raritywink:


In that case, barring catastrophe, I'll see you there next year. :pinkiehappy:


Very true. Living on "staples" contributed to my own Dad dying at 61. But I have the same problem 3925092 does. Well, it's a work in progress.


Sometimes it's better to look at what's the same rather than what's different. We've all got Big Problems, and we're all trying to make headway... and sometimes progress is frustratingly slow.

It's funny--before joining this fandom, I knew exactly zero trans people. Now I've actually lost count of how many I've both met and seen at a distance. Reading your experience is educational and reassuring, since from where I'm standing it's hard to tell the science of it, or the public's opinion.

Hang in there. :heart:


I hadn't considered that. Heck, maybe it'll also supersede That place looks like it was last updated in 1998. If so, maybe I'll hold off for a bit on writing my real magnum opus, Steven Universe Meets Sun Tzu. :3


Thank you. And you're probably right, but being the former son of lighthouse staff, there was a time when I had no people skills to speak of, so I'm self-conscious about them to this day. (Sadly, my current job pays peanuts, so BronyCAN is out of the question too. >_<)


That won't make me write any faster, though I wish it would. :rainbowlaugh:


Aw shucks, thanks. :twilightblush: Time to take a fortifying breath and hope my next story holds up to that standard.


I agree with all of that and encourage you onwards your path as well!

First of all, I'd love to see a crossover with Steven Universe and MLP that isn't vitriolic like the two I've found. Specifically I want to find a story involving that Galaxy Warp and perhaps Equestria being a once-conquered gem world, hence the sheer abundance of gems near its surface, already cut and polished.

It'd be interesting to see the thousands of years old princesses meet with one of their old foes in the thousands of years old gems, while Steven and the Crystal Gems try to negotiate with the ponies... Or not, given there's at least one geovorous species and the ponies happen to have one on hoof.

I think it'd make a good crossover/fusion. But maybe that's just me.

Oh, also:

The only true sin is excess; anything in moderation is a boon, properly applied. It is only when too much, too little, or wrongly used do things become dangerous.

Well I sure hope it supersedes If anything, you're understating how terrible that place is - it has the visual design and features of a website from 1998, the digital rights management headaches of a mid-2000s EA title (Seriously, you can't highlight text there! It's nuts!), and the intrusive advertising of a modern paywall-funded website, except you can't pay for them to go away.

It is literally the worst of every world and seems intent on finding new and exciting ways to be bad all the time, and I have fantasized about its demise for years. By contrast, is legitimately one of the most richly featured and well-run free fiction publishing websites there is by a gigantic margin, or would be if not for the narrow scope of what can be submitted. I want everything to live here where it's easy and pleasant to find, because this website does the job of ensuring that's the case astonishingly well.

Amazing! What brands of Broken Cell Wall Chlorella & Gingko Biloba do you use?


Prairie Naturals for the former, Omega Alpha for the latter. Relevant to your interests, eh?

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