I'm divided.  I liked it, but not as much as I'd like to like it, or maybe it's a matter of how critically respectable it might be to like it.  The sincerity of the ending graciously offset a lot of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge stuff, which is lucky because MLP is pretty much the only show from which I tolerate that kind of guilelessness.  But because it is MLP, namely its own specific show, it was sorta like, a little bit here and there is great, but leave the Doctor and Jeff Lebowski back in their own stories—It's not their place to do any heavy lifting here.  It was sorta like the Tirek fight:  This is awesome and fun and all, but does it belong here?  It's always been a pretty self-aware and playful show, though, so I dunno.

But that bit with Gummy was great.  And the writing and pacing were snappy, which is something I thought was lacking in season 5 up until the Discord episode, making everything seem kinda clunky before that.  

All that aside, though, Tabitha killed it as Derpy Muffins.

I'll have to watch it again in a few days before my opinion on it will congeal.  While I felt like I could hear DHX behind it going "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??," well, I was, so...

I mean, on the one hand, wow!  22 minutes of fanservice!

But on the other hand, ugh, 22 minutes of fanservice...?

In any case, they clearly worked hard and went out of their way to make something for the fans, so I hope they get a positive reaction, which so far it seems like they are.  Hopefully people don't turn against it in a month, because it'd make me really sad to see that kind of playful effort backfire on them.

...Wait.  So this show is based on a toy line, right?  What if all this reification of fanon is a mirroring-back of the way people play with the ponies?

Think about it.

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Vulnerability · 7:19pm

I just published a real bizarre Optimalverse one-shot I feel a tad self-conscious about showing the world.  Maybe it's crazy, maybe it's pretentious, or maybe it's crazy-pretentious, but I'd started putting too much thought into it for it to ever not see the light of day.  Read it and draw your own conclusions:

People have been asking, and though you might not believe me, P-Theory is still alive, as well.  I've got 12,000 words of the next chapter written, and just have to string together a few more scenes, such as Ha! Nice try! and Made you look!.  I might actually split it into two chapters; we'll see.

I just had to get this story out first, because it was starting to weigh on me and take up more and more of my thoughts, which is incidentally exactly how P-Theory got started as well.  Stay tuned.

Edit:  This's popped me up to 100 followers!  In your face, pigeon who gave me the side-eye the other day!

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More. · 3:42am

Wrote about 1,500 words today on P-Theory.  Some of you have been asking, but it ain't dead!  I'm getting really on top of work this month, so I should have a lot more time and creative energy to use on writing.

But I did also work on an illustration:

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This goes out to all y'all people out there in FiMFictionLand...  Hope you had a happy one.

You know, I used to think it was a religious holiday until I saw all these Facebook posts about how apparently people have been celebrating winter holidays for a long, long time!  Who knew?  Kudos to them for blowing the lid off this whole Christmas thing!

I got some nice winter stuff that I needed (such as vodka) and gave the relatives pencil portraits of various personages they admire.  A good time was had by all.  Gonna go eat some cornish hens in a lil' bit.  Have plans to see some old friends, and hoping to do some stand up while I'm here in the Twin Cities, possibly with a friend who works as an Onion writer nowadays, so I'm gonna see what he can hook me up with in NYC. [fingers crossed]

Still working on the next chapter of P-Theory when I can, as well as a rather surreal one-shot Optimalverse story for this collection, but I need to trim it down and work on making it into an actual narrative and not just an info dump by gleefully mad post-equines.  Right now it's basically 3,000 words of this:

Nevertheless, I find both projects occupying a lot of my thoughts during random downtime.

Here's to success for everyone in 2014.

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Smooth Stylin · 9:06am

Just got back from doing a stand up set (kiiiiilled iiiiiiit - So many free drinks) and am booked for another one tomorrow, at a comic shop of all places (I'll make sure to check if they have The Pony).  But I also just finished a big commission last night, and should have another one done by this weekend, so there should be plenty of time for me to write.

More importantly, 20 years ago today (well, the 8th), this came out:

It's your responsibility to bump this shit loud.  It was also my friend (and the MC)'s birthday today, and we had some hip-hop acts up afterwards but we were all rather disappointed.  Spittin' rhymes just ain't what it used to be.

So here's a preview of the next chapter of P-Theory:

“That’s, uh, that’s OK… But were you watching me sleep, dude?”  I squinted at him in discomfort at the idea of being so exposed.

Duncan laughed.  “Well… Can you blame me?  You’re rather… one of a kind around here.  Quite a switch from the animals I normally deal with.”

From the other side of the house I heard a strange woman’s voice cackle gleefully, followed by several men joining in a mad chorus of mocking laughter.  But I knew cops.  I wasn’t going to stay and be party to their attempts to prove who was the tough one with all the power.

But they knew…  How?  And who else knew?

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My favorite holiday, and not just because my birthday is two days later [31].

...I tried to combine "Birthday" and "Nightmare Night," and, uh... Well, I don't think this trips into NSFW:

Must be all the sexy costumes.  Saw "Sexy Hitler" last year.  Also an AJ/Pinkie cosplay duo.

At the moment I'm trying to write a set for an all-characters comedy show I was cajoled into doing tomorrow night, and I finally came up with a costume (The Wizard of Unemployment), but I only have a couple lines so far...

But P-Theory, on the other hand, is growing a new chapter at a decent speed, like a neck-Peter in that last episode of Family Guy.  And in fact I've even got a basic concept for the second half of Elements of Truth, but no resolution yet.  I've got a lot of regular work to do and my agent just called me today with another big commission I'll be starting in a few days (weekly paycheck, though, which is huge in this line of work), but I'm finishing another one off this weekend, too, so I should be set.  Also applied last night for a regular gig as a designer for "Cards Against Humanity" here in Chicago that I'm actually kinda confident about, so if that comes through I should be able to cut back on the freelancing.    

In the mean time, have some nice, freaky, nightmare-inducing Nightmare Night stuff:

http://www.vintag.es/2012/10/incredibly-bizarre-vintage-halloween.html  (I especially love the Phone People, the mole couple, the chicken man, and the last one.)

And the infamous party scene from one of my favorite movies, John Waters' "Pink Flamingos," which I think is one of the most Halloween-y things every committed to celluloid, and a surprisingly good date movie - I've never dated a woman who doesn't love John Waters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t12xqdqyvP8(Gross and semi-NSFW.  It's still OK to link to stuff... right?  I mean, they cut the part where the guy lip-syncs to Surfin' Bird using his anus... They do still kill and eat a cop, though, which I would think is way worse... But then is there anything funnier and more appropriate for a day like this than wildly skewed priorities?)

And finally some old-timey animation that's surely SFW, and makes me feel all good and Halloween-y:

(Can you imagine if the Dodo, Pinkie Pie, and Discord got together?)

EDIT: Oh wait, no - Here's an old-timey cartoon that's actually about ghosts:

And I'm out!

(Speaking of which, I was very pleased with the Breaking Bad finale.  I thought it was a joke in that early episode when Jesse suggested building a robot to get the two of them out of a jam...)

But more importantly, what are YOU guys doing for Halloween!?  Tell the people!  

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Making Good Time · 11:33pm

I have to go do stuff tonight, but I've been writing a lot and thought I'd share a little hint of the next chapter (Interlude Two, where we see the Equestria side of things), since I don't know how busy I'll be in the next couple days:

Wanting to prime her courtiers with the exceptional nature of the situation, Celestia decided to forgo the traditional circular meeting table and instead called forth five planes of concentrated force to flash through the marble floor, liberating a long rectangular slab which she then raised and bound firmly to the very space of the room, leaving it to hover, ominously inert, at a seated pony’s chest level.

No fussily dressed maids entered with trays of confectionary or sumptuous, palatial cushions.  Instead, Luna, reading her sister’s intentions, conjured a mat of black, utilitarian padding trimmed in silver, to bridge the pit left by the floating table, and two rows of similarly spartan black and silver drinking bowls, filled with clear water.


They exchanged a polite nod with a circle of ponies and one diamond dog sharing a hookah made from an old municipal censer, then turned another corner to arrive at the surprisingly plain and unadorned entrance to the most ancient part of the tunnels.  Upper Reaches had expected a sign, or a curtain, or at least some kind of frame around the threshold, but it was simply a rough circular shaft sunk into the face of the rock, sloping gently downward and swallowing the light as if it were stuffed with ink-stained cotton.  

It's been a while, so here's Interlude One in case you missed it.

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I Am a Tool · 8:37am

By which I mean, I am a freelancer who is contracted by clients to create images for them.  

Two big projects I'm actually kind of excited about are starting up, but I'm all caught up now on my portion, so for the next couple days, I have few things to do except work on the next chapter of P-Theory.  Technically I did have downtime before then when I could have worked on it, but when I wasn't using that for either going out and doing stand up or otherwise rocking out with the emotionally unhealthy, my creative energy had been so thoroughly commandeered by visual stuff that any attempts to write words just led to me staring at Google Docs until I opened Photoshop in frustration.  I still feel like a putz for not sticking with it until it clicked anyway, though.

While I write, though, please enjoy this pencil drawing of Rainbow Dash I did on the road, which I intend to turn into a painting a la that Canterlot one, tentatively titled "SCRAMBLE ALL WONDERBOLTS."  I gave her a badass magical anti-monster taser thing, and slapped some colors on there quick just so you can tell it's her:

I want to have a belt with some irritant grenades, too, but they didn't make it into the sketch.  Obviously in the show it was just a King Kong gag, but I want to do a legit take on the Wonderbolts as a kind of air force.

Anyway, time to get my authoring on.

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Canterlot's done.  It got way more elaborate than I originally envisioned, since I wasn't satisfied here and then had to go rework something over there to make things consistent, and I would still have kept going to correct every little wobbly area, but....no:

(Click here for the full size version auaaaaauugh Hurry it buuurns)

Added some big carved stone heads on the approach, there, since if previous episodes set in Canterlot have shown us anything, it's that Equestrian culture is not averse to giant hagiographic artwork.  I wonder which one is Starswirl... One of them does have a Dumbledore-style broken nose... But nah, that's too obvious.

Anyway, here is some appropriate "fancy exotic city" music to go with it:

Here's a digital sketch of one of the dudes from this chapter, too, since I wanted to challenge myself to make a pony who looks more horse-like.  If you've ever played Xenogears, this fancy fellow might remind you of a certain someone:

I don't think I've ever really drawn a horse before I became a pony fan last spring...

Now I just have to finish writing the damn chapter ELL-OH-ELL

OH LORDY we have fun

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OK I slept on it and I think it's good enough to go with.

This makes it look like we've only dipped our toes into the story, but those first chapters were much, much denser (also because I already wrote those parts and so there's nothing more to really say about them, planning-wise).  The pace is going to pick up, but it'll still be more on the easygoing, observant side.  Going to try to get the next chapter out before the 20th, when I'm going out of town for a bit.

Also, some progress on Canterlot.  I don't want it to get too elaborate and involved, but I also want it to be consistent and jibe as a coherent whole:

Do you see the couple detached cloud houses floating in front of the mountain?  Cosmopolitan! :coolphoto:

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