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  1. Just before we begin, I'd like some props for this episode literally being 4x20 without me making any Applejack eats celery/smokes weed jokes.......................................

     

    ...mostly because there were no opportunities to do so. Anyways, blazeit: 

    On 4/21/2014 at 0:16 PM, PrymeStriker said:

    I finally got around to watching this after it disappeared from my DVR all those weeks ago. And I can't believe I missed out on such a well-written episode.

     

    Really now? Well, if "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" is any indication, then maybe this season can save itself after all.

     

     

    ....wait a minute, I just remembered something. Josh Haber wrote this episode. You know Josh Haber's last episode was?

     

    Simple FUCKING WAYS

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND just like that, my confidence in this episode's quality has dropped substantially. Let's crack into "Leap of Faith". 

     

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    So this episode opens up with Big Mac and Applejack in a pond splashing water at each other in what I think is the shittiest animation the whole series up to this point. It looks like a fucking toy commercial it's so bad. What a great start. At this rate, next scene will involve Rainbow Dash getting syphilis. Wait a second, that's not a good allegory, 'cause that would actually please me. Everyone tries to encourage Granny Smith to get in the pond with them, but she goes on a long-winded explanation about why she's afraid of water. After the "Skip Intro" button blows me some minty-fresh fellatio, the Apple Family notice a bunch of sick and hurt people walking in unison like a band of zombies to a circus tent. You just can't make this shit up. When they go to investigate they se-

     

    Flim_and_Flam_on_stage_S4E20.png

    e-...ee-e.........

     

    .................Right, BRB.

     

    HOLY FUCKING SHIT IT'S THE FlIM FLAM BROTHERS YASSSSSSSSSSS GURL YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS

     

    *ahem*. Alright, I'm good now. Err, they proceed to sing a rip off of the Super Speedy Cider Squeezy song, now trying to pawn off their magical sickness cure tonic. As it "appears" to work on some members of the audience, Granny Smith is sold and decides to buy the tonic so she can regain her youth again. Applejack remains skeptical, but the old hag certainly gains a few springs back in her step after she downs the shit, even to the point of being able to swim again. Hey, how handy! This only makes Applejack more skeptical as she and Apple Bloom try to figure out what's actually in that elixir from the depths of Hell. When they arrive, they find one of the same ponies that were cured in the first show...pretending to be cured a second time. Logically, Applejack and Apple Bloom chase this fucker down until they learn his name: Silver Shill. Wow, what a standout name that doesn't sound like any other character's name in the show ever. They discover that he's part of the act, and follow him right to Flim and Flam themselves. Applejack confronts them about their bullshit, but explain to Applejack that even if their potion were just a mixture of apples and beet leaves, this tonic is making Granny Smith feel better. So, basically they say, "what's the big fuckin' deal, bitch?" 

     

    Applejack_%22Honestly,_Apple_Bloom%22_S4

    Applejack contemplates her existence while Apple Bloom watches porn for the first time on the big flatscreen TV to the left of Applejack. 

     

    Back at the pond, Apple Bloom asks Granny Smith to help her compete in an aquabatics competition...'cause...y'know...that's been Apple Bloom's dream this whole series. Therefore, in order to compete, she buys the Flim Flam Brothers' entire case of elixir. When people start asking Applejack if it really works, and she replies that it seems to work for Granny Smith, everyone is instantly prepared to chuck all their money at the Flimmerfloosels. Why is this important? The Flock'o'Fuck Bros. turn Applejack into the poster-child sponsor for the syrup, which in the event that the tonic doesn't work for other people, means the whole town will totally turn on her and burn her alive until she's a nice, crispy lunch dish at Apple Bloom's school. Later, at the aquabatics competition, everything goes off...without a hitch surprisingly. This even promotes the Super Mario Bros. to make the Apple family the official spokespersons for their tonic. Applejack, however, is not putting up with any of their crap. There's no time for Harplejarkle to kick Superior Mario Sibling ass today, though, because Granny Smith has gained enough confidence to do a legendary dive!

     

    Granny_Smith_approaching_edge_of_diving_

    Awwww HELL yeah we're gonna see some pony blood TODAY!

     

    Granny Dipshit takes one last sip of the potion before jumping to her doom, but not before Applejack lasso's her ass and saves her life. Son of a bitch! I wanted to see some gory gut-busting explosion shit this morning! A nice beating heart stew on the grass below where the ants can build their next mound. Can you imagine it?! Those little fuckers creating a network of tunnels through Granny's tangled intestines. It would've been amazing! And Applejack just had to go and ruin it! What a sick, evil, twisted bastard she is. She should be annihilated! Eviscerated! Turned into apple cider and sold on the black market in exchange for foreign child slaves! Then we'd see some real action in this fuckin' country. Goddammit Applejack, ya ruined everything!

     

     

    ...

     

    Oh, and this is a key episode apparently.

     

    Applejack_key_of_honesty_in_eyes_S4E20.p

    REEEADING RAINBO-...wait, I should save that one for Twilight's key. That'll be funnier.

     

    Applejack fesses up to the crowds, exposing the Flavor Flav potions as a fake! This of course, prompts the whole town to accuse Applejack of lying...which she admits to. Sorry......what? She...didn't lie. At all. The only thing she ever said was  "it seems to work for Granny", which were TRUE STATEMENTS by her account. Anyone with vision could see that it seems to work for Granny Smith. That doesn't mean it fucking does. Everyone else made that conclusion. Therefore, it's the townspeople's fault for jumping the goddamn gun. Of course, this doesn't make for very good PR. So Applejack goes the whole sentimental route of "hoping to gain the public's trust once again" like some kind of celebrity Twitter apology, and Silver Shill ultimately fesses up and admits to this all being bullshit. Then he gives Applejack some money...which is about the sorriest fucking excuse for a key yet. Also, I like how all the other ponies had their keys given to them by characters that at least had some spotlight in this episode while Applejack gets this side character that had all of two scenes of screentime. GG, now it's time to indulge the journal.

     

    Applejack_writes_on_a_journal_S4E20.png

    Oh my GOD that looks genuinely retarded. 

     

    So Applejack learns that having others believe a lie is about as stupid as that picture up above, and thus concludes "Leap of Faith".

     

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    ...Eh.

     

    There's some pretty good things about this episode. The conflict of having Applejack choose between being honest with the public and maintaining her family's happiness is certainly an interesting one. We see Applejack deal with two things that make up her character; her loyalty to her family and her honesty, clashing directly against each other in a way we haven't seen before. That's very nice and all, and would've made for a "well-written episode" like I mentioned above if the last four minutes didn't take a nosedive. It's no Equestria Girls leap, but the fact that she admitted to lying when by all accounts she technically didn't, and that this ended up being the lesson taught in the end...it's shaky at best. Even the Flim Flam Brothers weren't that interesting in this episode, basically just retreading their ground from "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000". Ultimately, "Leap of Faith" is an okay episode with some okay writing. Nothing special, though, by far. I'll give this episode a 7/10.

     

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    America is a systemically oppressed country. 

     

     

  2. I didn't have time too write a review for this episode until now. Anyways llet's get into this.

    The CMC have a heavy presence within the season so far. The next episode after this one is a CMC episode. And Forever Filly was a Sweetie Belle and Rarity episode. With the CMC even having their own b plot within the episode. Too be honest though I can't complain. I won't talk much about it here, I will wait till next week. But it is good too see that the CMC have evolved since we've first seen them.

    It's also good too see that despite their maturity they are still just little kids. I think having Scootaloo just crash in on Rainhow Dash's parents was the perfect intrroduction. Because if the setup instead was Rainbow Dash going too her parents house for dinner, maybe inviting Fluttershy or Twilight too go with her, then before we even met them we already would have had a bias towards them. Because Dash would have complained about how annoying her parents are. Which would leave people with an impression that they are annoying before we even met them.

    It's also interesting that Scootaloo finnaly met Dash's parents. For the last several season Rainbow has served as Scootaloo's defacto older sister even if they aren't biologically related. I am curious if they will ever expand upon that. Also seeing the trophy room of Dash's childhood was a good way too illustrate the type of parents they were. And it is easy too see why Dash has such an aversion too her parents.

    Also that sound affect door was great. The humour for this episode was spot on. And I love the new voice actors for Dash's parents. I am curious how Dash's parents managed too not know their daughter was a wonderbolt. Normally you'd think one of your countries biggest sports teams 

  3. Back in 2015, after conversation with The Coffee Pony on Skype, I decided to revive my idea to give the Equestria Girls franchise a full-blown rewrite under my own vision, which I conceptualized in 2013. Although I really steamed forward with two drafts, I stopped in the middle for nearly a year while only peaking only a few updates here and there.

    For those who’re reading about it for the first time, here’s the full synopsis:

    Quote

     

    Sunset Shimmer was a unicorn capable of harnessing and learning some of the best magic, but is unfortunately able to harness it in the daytime. She was accepted into the School for Gifted Unicorns under Princess Celestia’s teaching and mentoring. Unfortunately, she really struggled keeping up in her studies, and being bullied by students and teachers due to her magic controlling issues caused massive chaos. During her second year, Sunset reached her boiling point after the abuse turned violent, and she let her magic spiral out of control, causing massive destruction of Canterlot Castle. With prior permission by her parents, Celestia locked her horn (in other words, she can’t use magic at all, a major violation of ponies’ trust and personal boundaries in my canon). Feeling betrayed, she ran away by entering a large magical mirror in the passageway a few floors underneath Celestia’s study. Celestia searched for her, but couldn’t find her and was forced to leave her behind as the mirror was only open for two weeks every eleven years.

    As she was stranded, she was adopted by the Pie family there, and one of the sisters (Pinkie) was the one to help give her the most training, help, and practice. As a result, both of them become very close to the point where Sunset calls her “Pinkie-Mommy.” In short, the two became inseparable.

    Eleven years after she ran away, the mirror opened again, and this time Celestia was prepared to rescue Sunset and bring her own, this time with Twilight Sparkle’s and Spike’s help. But how can Sunset want to go home when she feels like Pedestria’s home, and what can be done to ensure that she and the Pies don’t separate?

     

    If you want to read the process, feel free to read them all. I recommend going in order, though.

    A really good thing about drafting these stories is that you can come up with ideas and not be conservative like a modern-day Republican about it. Have an idea? Put it down! If it works, great! If not, no problem. Go back and find a new one.

    Spending hours on this draft was an experience. I haven’t written a fanfic of any size since 2012, so this was a good way to get that rust. At the risk of being hypocritical, I’m not a big fan of having my work criticized. Your work is your baby, so it feels natural to protect it no matter the cost. Even the softest constructive criticism can sting like hell. That’s me in a nutshell. While much of the feedback wasn’t public, it doesn’t change the fact that it was very valuable, both the praise and concrit, and helped me want to improve upon the idea.

    Simultaneously, it’s even more difficult to observe your own work and pick apart the very problems. Sometimes when writing fanfic, you work in a vacuum. You get so caught up in what you do that you don’t actually see the flaw until someone points them out for you. To go back several months later gives me a fresh perspective of what I did right, wrong, and how to make it better. Yet, often, your harshest critic isn’t an unsolicited reviewer, but more often yourself, so you get to think whether you’re really overthinking it.

    So, what problems did I come across?

    1. Sunset’s growth from getting trapped in Pedestria to who she became today’s mostly confined in exposition. When you’re trying to create a very believable world and conflict, telling what happened wither via prose or character dialogue doesn’t help. Exposition goes through one ear and out the other. You need the audience to visualize what’s going on so the audience can believe everything they’re reading.
    2. Just because Sunset Pie Shimmer and Pinkie Pie are closest doesn’t mean she can’t be so close with the rest. For the first half of my latest draft, she showed to be close to Pinkie only while being somewhat distant of the rest. Hell, the rest don’t have an impact until after she returns to Equestria for the first time.

      What I want is for the audience to believe Sunset’s as much a part of the family as the others. This direction doesn’t cut it: If you’re gonna treat much of the family as an afterthought, what’s the point in them existing at all?
    3. The repair of Sunset’s and Celestia’s relationship was too rushed. You had chapters highlighting the strain (along with Sunset calling her a monster for violating her, running away from her home after her secret past was found out, glaring at Celestia during an important meeting with everyone, and kissing Luna on the cheek to reassure Luna and spite Celestia), but it changed in one chapter midway. It’d take three chapters for their relationship to fully mend.

      This isn’t like what happened with Starlight, who was both a villain and crying for help at the same time, and needed someone to be treated as an equal to see the error of her ways. Sunset’s feeling of betrayal runs well beneath her skin to the point of not wanting to return to Equestria, both because she saw herself as an embarrassment to the Shimmer family and (during their first encounter since running away) realize that her dad Dawn Shimmer and mom Sunrise Shimmer had been raising a brother (Solstice) five years after leaving. It’s gonna take time to repair suppressed heart-deep pain.
    4. Way too much crying.

      a. Both Sunset and Pinkie following their big fight.

      b. After Sunset calls Celly a monster one chapter later.

      c. After Pinkie and Sunset reunite.

      d. During a hug the night after reuniting.

      e. Dawn and Sunrise after meeting Sunset for the first time in 11 years.

      f. Later that chapter, when Sunrise admits she can’t look at the sunset because it reminded her of her daughter too much.

      g. After Sunset admitted to two close friends (OCs named May Z. Acres and her sister May Flour) that she still hates Celestia.

      h. A couple of chapters later, Celly and Sunset quietly tear as they embrace.

      i. At the end of the second-to-last chapter after discovering the rewritten spell worked.

      j. The very end when everyone surprises Sunset with a celebratory party in the CHS gym.

      And there’ll likely be even more than that.

      As you can see, at least ten scenes of characters crying. When characters’ first instinct is crying, it makes the emotion and characters very one-dimensional. Everyone responds to emotional events in their own way. Relief, despair, sadness, fright, and happiness can be relayed without shedding waterfalls of saline. And I’m sure no one wants the characters to fry readers’ comps as they read the fanfic.
    5. Although I can critique what makes jokes work or fail, I suck at writing jokes.

      Here’s an example of what I mean:
       
      Quote

      Canterlot High. Back where the quest began. She heads to the school and sees the base. Nothing to disturb it. She reaches inside and feels her hand transforming into a hoof. Then she looks back; there's a security guard (Old Iron). She asks him where this thing called a basketball court is. He points to the entrance's right: "One block." She heads over and piers through wired mesh from above. Below, AJ and Dash were playing a game on the basketball court.

      Twilight smiled evilly.

      Rainbow Dash was attempting a free-throw—

      "Hi, Rainbow Dash!"

      Rainbow flinches and shoots an air ball.

      "Rainbow Dash, that attempt's as bad as your wardrobe."

      "Don't blame me, AJ. I haven't found anything comfy to wear and play sports. This is the best I can find." (Dash is wearing a neon yellow tank top, thigh-length neon green shorts, and white sneakers.)

      "Only 'cause y'haven't washed yer best clothes in a fortnight and three days."

      Twilight grimaced.

      "Says an awesome cowgirl who likes to take mudbaths in her free time."

      Twilight chuckled, walking down the stairs. "Rainbow Dash, Applejack, you two fight like an old married couple."


      Two major problems with this joke:

      a. It’s OOC of Twilight. To intentionally distract Pedestrian!Dash (who she doesn’t know at the time) while she attempts a free throw makes her mean and cruel.

      b. Applejack and RD are completely oblivious to what caused it, where her voice came from, and her presence. This makes them look like OOC idiots.

      When it comes to fanfic, my strength is slice of life while keeping everything mellow. Drama is my second-biggest strength. Humor isn’t. But it wouldn’t be FIM without some cartoony comedy, and the humor can make the drama more impactful. (See The Force Awakens.)

      In short, try to make the humor make more sense and in character of the characters. And since FIM and EQG run on some levels of cartoon logic, don’t be afraid to bend the rules when necessary.
    6. Cut down on the tangents. Conversation never operates in a straight line. Tangents can and will happen, and I want dialogue to feel real, hence my insistence of originating my dialogue in script format. With all the prose out of the way, I can focus on the meat of the story and then work the prose in later.

      But when many dialogue scenes have them, the tangents can become predictable and kill the mood. In the span of a few chapters, I came up with three scenes containing with tangents, one of them with two found here. The last one (supposed to foreshadow Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? in season five) doesn’t add to the story or the scene itself. It’d work just as well, if not better, without it.

      In short, be more careful not to go off-track too often.
    7. Pre-plan my worldbuilding. As I developed my second draft, I also had to begin focusing on creating the piece of lore in order to tie it together. Remember, this isn’t the only chapter in the D’EQ-verse. Rewrites for RR, the Holiday Special, FG, and LoE will also be a part of the story, and I may add in the three 20-minute specials. In order for everything to even make sense, my background must be pre-planned.

      That’s the problem. I didn’t pre-plan it very well, and the more I wrote down my lore, the more complicated it became. When you have to plan your lore, you risk creating plot holes that you must solve. With there being four TV movies, some comics, short stories, and three TV specials, having lore and a timeline be constructed on-the-fly may do more harm than good for my rewrite.

      One goal I want to be consistent: No Pedestrian can become bearers of Equestrian magic or trigger Equestrian magic of any kind without a plausible reason.

      So, ideas to fix this problem:

      1. Write my chapters as bulleted points. Get what I needed in my chapter to go from Point A to B.

      2. Write a timeline of events. Lore’s very important in my EQG1 fixfic, and it’ll be doubly so for my RR idea. Later on, Equestrian lore become less central to the story. The timeline of events will also give me a guide to come back to in case I forget about my worldbuilding concepts and logic.

    Spending months and hours on draft #2 was a blessing. It helped me put my ideas down and in public. It allowed me to look at what succeeded, what failed, and how to hopefully correct them.

    This’ll be a big job, but I feel I’m up to the task.

  4.   I'm sorry... you know the old adage, that you don't know what you have till its gone...

       You know as well as I do that I've been in a few bad relationships before... You've been with me all my life, maybe you even know me before that even. Heh, I won't lie, can't say I've never been attracted by the idea of an older woman, and your about as old as they come! But I kid. But because of that age difference, you wised up quicker than I did. ... I'm a weak man. I care so much about everything that I give up & ignore the things I once held for granted. I... I didn't mean to abuse you. I didn't mean to lose you.

      Many others have lived with you. They mistreat, misuse and even kid around about killing you and... I wish I had not been one of those. You've... meant so much to me. You've been with me every moment of every day and now I can't stop thinking about you. I know you care, it's just... you ask alot of me. It feels like you're constantly at me and I got fed up and wasted my relationship with you... I see now that you only ever meant to care for me. In ways I couldn't.

      Even if you're not with me I can still almost feel you. I suppose that's love for you... even if somehow grown apart, we still have that vague concept of the other. Heh... I've always thought you were beautiful. Brilliant, intelligent... the way you could always put things in just the right order, even if I could never tell. Now that I've gained more respect by living without you, I can say I've only become more enamored & even obsessed. I could even say you're quite attractive too... heh, even if both of us are humble enough to admit you haven't the body. Sigh, I even miss that cute, calming little ticking noise you sometimes make, even if it did drive me up the wall sometimes.

        ...but I wasted that. Wasted the comfort I once found in you. I never just set aside the moments to just be with you or just plan things out the way your so known for. I... I never did anything with you, never realized how empty & unhealthy my life is without being with you. Now without you everything blurs together into one long smear of activity. I can't rest, can't tell one day from another... I simply am just existing now. We argued constantly... I thought you were worthless, that you were just some abstract notion that didn't even exist or was worthy of me even paying attention to because I was so jaded from all that you had asked of me. I've... I've just lost so many things in my life that I had forgotten to think of something else beyond me and the things I could hold on to. I can't change you, you can't change me... unless I learn to somehow let you in and accept you.

       You might be just a pretty concept to others, but now that I'm living without you I realize how important you were. Like Thanos before with Death, I wish I could only better understand & grasp you. Be it metaphorically or literally.

      I miss you... please come back... Time.

  5. And here, at long, long last, we are: the final episode of Samurai Jack. When last we left him, it seemed Jack had finally been beaten by the shapeshifting Master of Darkness… and Daddy’s Little Destroyer. Let’s see how this all pans out…

    What Happens
    Throughout the land, all the various peoples and groups that Jack had encountered gather around their viewing devices in dread, because Aku is making an announcement. Aku uses the opening from previous seasons to preface his gloating. Then Aku himself appears, showing off the captured Samurai Jack and his sword. In order to break the spirit of his subjects for all time, he is broadcasting live his final victory in finishing off Jack… if only he could decide quite how to do this momentous event just right…

    Jack pleads with Akushi to fight, but it seems to have no effect, and Aku finally decides to let her have the honour of killing his defeated enemy. However, before the final blow is struck, the armies of every group still able to put up a fight attack Aku’s tower. In the ensuing battle, Jack is blasted free. He tries to get the sword while Aku is distracted by the others, but Akushi stops him.

    While able to inconvenience Aku to a degree, the armies of good are unable to actually do any significant damage, and Aku even starts using his evil to create an army of his own. Things seem to be looking bleak for our heroes, but then the Scotsman’s ghost arrives with the red-haired, reindeer-riding cavalry!

    59258203be6a7_2017-05-24(1).thumb.png.2a15e69d1be9b36caa1471917a7ddf7c.png
    Scotland! F*ck yeah!

    Using a set of mystical ghostly bagpipes to transport his daughters through the sky, and to launch an attack powerful enough to affect Aku himself, the Scotsman reunites with Jack, naming each of his daughters and offering Jack his pick.

    592581b841ab8_2017-05-24(2).thumb.png.d921f58b8b3961a2f52d620de5684829.png
    I think the last ones name is Ovalylongag

    Jack demurs and shows the Scotsman his new girlfriend… but, said girlfriend still being a black blob of Aku’s evil at this point, the Scotsman is less than impressed.

    Aku, frustrated by the attacks on him, launches himself into the sky and rains down spears of darkness, to devastating effect. The armies of good are being routed, until the Scotsman uses his bagpipes to create a shield, and even destabilize Akushi. Jack is caught inside Akushi's roiling black blob, and struggles to reach Ashi, who is still fighting the ocean of darkness. It seems like they will lose the struggle, and Jack desperately shouts to Ashi that he loves her.

    Ejected from Akushi, Jack lands flat on his back, and Akushi begins to choke him to death. (Now there’s an erotic asphyxiation meme waiting to happen.) Then her hold on his throat loosens as Ashi, empowered by Jack’s confession of love, manages to overcome the evil, reverting to her black catsuit look. Aku orders her to kill Jack again, but this time she is in control and denies Aku as her father. He attacks and she fights back with the same powers that Aku has, like eyebeams and shapeshifting. It seems her victory over Aku’s compulsion hasn’t severed her access to his powers. All his powers… as Jack and Ashi both quickly realize, that includes time travel! Ashi stretches her arm to grab and return Jack’s sword. Then she uses her screech powers to make a portal back to the past and, as Aku realizes with despair, it’s one he can’t interfere with or destroy.

    Back in the past, the initial fight between the as-yet-nameless Samurai and Aku plays out as before, with Aku sending him into the future… however, Jack and Ashi arrive back in the following moment. Aku chokes out what will turn out to be his final words, “You’re back already?!” as Jack wastes no time using his sword to cut down, trap and then destroy Aku once and for all.

    Soon after, all the people the Samurai trained growing up, as well as all the citizens of the Empire, are gathering for his wedding to Ashi. As she walks down the aisle towards him, she suddenly stumbles and collapses. Jack runs to embrace her, as she tells him what is happening: since Aku was killed in the past, he never donated his evil essence to the Cult in the future and thus Ashi was never born. She fades away, leaving Jack clutching her empty wedding kimono.

    The disconsolate Jack rides his horse through a misty gloomy forest. He sits down by a tree and mourns. A ladybug lands on his hand, and he slowly smiles with renewed hope and lets it fly away, as the sun comes out and lights up the same trees that Future!Aku had destroyed. The screen fades to black as the title “Episode CI” lingers.
    5925842aa3a87_2017-05-24(4).thumb.png.0b38737ecdf6ce1464a4867b64f1126b.png
    So beautiful, it almost makes me forget the writers tearing my heart out and stomping on it...

    Thoughts on the Episode
    And thus the curtain falls on Samurai Jack. It’s been a long ride, with many ups and downs. I’m glad that we got this final Season to resolve Jack’s story, but… sob… They killed Kenny ret-goned Ashi!

    southparkkenny.thumb.jpg.d7b0dbfd9618af19a5ee077e03994db3.jpg
    You bastards!

    In a way, I admire the sheer brass testicles / ovaries of the writers that led them to go this route, but… why? Why can’t we have nice things?! I didn’t think something like this would happen, really, even given how dark Season 5 could get. This… this was just mean-spirited. And it’s not like it was a necessary consequence of time travel, either. You can’t simply resolve the grandfather paradox by erasing Ashi. If Ashi didn’t exist, Jack would never have gone back to the past, thus wouldn’t have been able to kill Aku and thus make Ashi not exist. (I’m not going to do the cross-eyed joke! I’m not in the mood.) And then there’s the fact that Jack still remembers her… unless the ending scene is meant to imply that the memory of her faded away eventually, just as she did – unlikely with the way the scene was shot and how Jack’s expressions were shown, but still something your mileage could vary on. Speaking of delayed-reaction reordering of timelines, that’s another weird thing… why did it take so long for Ashi to be affected? Just so that the timing could be even more sucky for our poor hero? Dick move, writers, dick move. I mean, I can understand making the artistic choice they did, but I really did want Ashi to get her happy ending with Jack. I'm just really sad I didn't get to see my prediction come true... instead, heartbreak. But I'll live.

    If I were able to rewrite the ending, it would go like this… Jack and Ashi arrive in the past the moment BEFORE the Samurai gets sent to the future. Jack and the Samurai team up to take out Aku, and kill him with a super-cool double magical sword strike. As Aku dies, Ashi feels Aku’s evil leave her, as before, but as Jack tries to help her up, their hands go through each other.

    Jack and Ashi realize that preventing the Samurai from going to the future in the first place means they, the second copy of the sword, and the future timeline of Aku’s reign (coincidentally, virtually the entire series itself) all will cease to exist. After taking a short time to explain to the Samurai what would have happened, they start to fade away. Jack and Ashi redeclare their love for each other and share a final kiss as they fade out of existence, saddened but consoled by the fact that they are leaving existence together. The Samurai revels in his victory over Aku and the celebrations begin.

    Jump ahead a while, the Samurai is married, with a new born heir being held by the new Empress, wife and mother… who just happens to look a lot like Ashi. Bam! Perfect happy ending… Ashi still goes out, but now so does Jack, who now never had to suffer those 50 years of despair. We can still have our victory at a price without leaving the hero to suffer alone. Since the Samurai was never affected by Aku’s time travel, he ages perfectly normally, thus removing the question mark over whether or not Jack is still immortal. The Prophecy of the Guardian’s time portal is also resolved by never actually having happened, so the inconsistency of Jack’s older appearance in that vision vs the events of Season 5 is reconciled. All tied up with a neat bow, thank you very much! It’s such a pity the writers didn’t consult me, I coulda set them straight… sigh.

    Other thoughts: So in the end, the Guardian was apparently killed by Aku. I had hoped we might see him one last time… even if it were merely a flashback to witness the battle between them. Seeing the various friends Jack had made reappear en masse makes his absence even more notable. At least the Scotsman got his chance to shine and reunite with Jack.

    Oh, the irony… Aku managed to destroy all the time portals, yet still sowed the seeds of his own destruction by “blessing” the Cult of Aku. This lead not only to Ashi being born, meeting Jack and helping him regain his determination to destroy Aku, but also equipped her with the exact necessary power to negate all his efforts at preventing Jack’s return to the past. Add in the fact that he could have won if he had simply done to Jack what he did to the Scotsman a few episodes earlier and the Pie of Irony is complete, ready to throw in Aku’s flaming-eyebrows, fang-mouthed face. Heh.

     

    Overall, Season 5 has been a fun but bumpy ride. I give you my thanks for joining me on this journey. I may or may not write a review of the whole of the season/series at a later time, and I think I should probably start on FiM Season 7 like I’ve been saying I’ll do for the past couple of months. Please look forward to it, and join me again in the future. In the meantime, feel free to give your own perspectives in the comments. How did you feel about how the season wrapped up? Do you think my ending would have been better? (Because I do.) What did you enjoy most about the season? What did you enjoy least? Share your thoughts. And until the next time we meet, stay sunny side up!

  6. It is here. After over a month of work, this hell chapter is finally here!

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12296324/14/The-Equestrian-Dragon-Moon-Light

    This week's exciting chapter of The Equestrian Dragon brings us a bit more history of Virin's ancestors, who had seemed to had been working alongside the ancient Gods of planet Earth. As the trial undergoes its way, he also seems to be getting a surprise in the second test of the trial.

  7. Finally after 13 years Samurai Jack ends

    For those who don’t know, Samurai Jack…you know Im going to allow Aku, the main villain of series explain the show’s premise

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e51hgWIsY4M
     
    Yeah that’s the basic version of it; a time traveling samurai looking to defeat the evil Aku. It took 13 years just to tell its ending over five seasons. Why did it take so long? Blame the poor money made from the PPG movie. With being said however Im going to review Samuari Jack as a whole, by looking at both sides The Good and The Bad
    The Good
    The series is beautiful to look at and watch, even when Samurai Jack upgrades its style to flash in season 5, its still beautifully. I mean you can set any of the settings as a background to your computer or take this one for example  
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    As you can see its just memorizing to look at alone. Now let’s talk about the characters Jack and Aku. Jack is mostly and silent protagonist, but unlike lets say Master Chief , he does have his humor.  When he needs character its really good character devolvement and season 5 is chuck of mostly good character for Jack. Now liked talk about the villain, Aku. Aku is just a but load of fun to watch. He breaks the fourth wall a lot. He wants to know he rules the goddamn world and he knows it. On the same level of humor is the Scootsmen, whose throws around insults at people with giving a hoot if there an insulted.   With being Samurai Jack’s strength isn’t telling its story, but rather standalone episodes that don’t contribute to the story. My favorite Samurai Jack episodes, “Jack and the Spartans” and “Jack vs the Ninja” really show case this well. There beautiful short stories that you can watch without needing the story to understand things (just the opening).  Samurai Jack is an awesome when its telling artistically beautiful one shot  episode. Now let me say I loved the majority of season 5. Its really good I loved the Samurai Jack did adopt to an adult very well showing Jack’s PSTD and how crazy he’s gotten over the fifty years he has been stuck there. Allow to me say I love Ashi’s backstory and her relationship with Jack and it’s very well told romance. Heck Ashi has her own tragic hero’s journey that is mostly well told. We see her come to understand that what she was thought her life was a lie. During her travels, she learns  how much Jack means for her and those he saved over the course of the show.
    The Bad
    Samurai Jack almost a perfect cartoon, up until the last two episodes. They’re weak and full of plot holes. For one the ending of "Jack and the Traveling Creatures" (S3E6) didn't really amount to much. In the episode Jack facing against a Guardian, guarding a time portal and Jack gets his butt kicked. The episode ends with Jack being taken away and Guardian saying Jack will come and face him again one day. However, --yeah this image (below) the episode focuses below  doesn’t happen
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    They should have written a big sign at the ending of the episode saying: "You Don't Like This! You Don't Want to See This! Go Anywhere! Do not focus on the future image of Jack we are intentionally focusing on!"  Instead both the time portal and the guardian are killed off screen in favor of Ashi. Secondly, the finale and primer movie don’t mess well together because well
    Here is Jack’s dad in the primer
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    Here’s Jack dad in the finale and keep in mind no time has pased, pretty much between the two
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    How in the blindly fuck did his dad get his youth back? Or was his old aged caused by Aku or something?
    Season 5 was also building up to choice between Jacks staying in the future or to go back into the past. Nope that doesn’t happen, instead Ashi just creates a time portal and they just jump through it, no choice just let Jack’s allies to face Aku by themselves. On that note, Aku’s death is really forgettable, like blink and you miss it sort of moments. Jack and Aku’s final confrontation last like a minute and boom goes Aku’s castle. No final words between Jack and Aku, just Jack saying “No More!” and that’s it, a very underwhelming final conflict. One last thing about the finale is that we get a “goodbye” to all the characters that we came to know and love over 4 seasons. They just reduced to down to cameos. (Demongo being brought back to life makes no sense at all.)
    The core of the problem is twofold.  First Samurai jack, a cartoon that character driven, is only given thirty minutes to wrap up its story. Other cartoons like it, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Gravity Falls, are given over an hour to wrap its tale and they were well received endings. When a five season show only has thirty minutes to wrap its story it’s going to be sloppy and boy was it.  The second reason is that this was the finale that was thirteen years in the making. That’s enough time to prefect the ending, retool any flaws. To see these huge flaws in the finale, like Aku and Jacks final battle and characters that we come to know over the previou four seasons reduced down to cameos in the finale is inexcusable.
    Samurai Jack was almost a perfect show, but the final two episodes hold it back for being that show. Everything was not only really rushed, but there were several huge plot holes that can’t be ignored. The finale shown wasn’t the one foreshadow in the first four seasons.

    Overall
        Samurai Jack is ALMOST the perfect show. The first four seasons are legendary and a good majority of season 5 is legendary and it does stand out. I love the setting and the characters of Samurai Jack, they are deep and each one of them has something to say. However, the final hour of the show wasn’t what the fans were promised and Aku’s death isn’t legendary as the show built up to be, but rather forgettable in the end.
    Grade
    85/100
    B+

     

     

  8. Well after the how great it was to shoot the one in my first Macro blog, I wanted to try again. This time, I'm using another lens that is radioactively treated and with it provides excellent color and background bokeh for Macro photography.

     

    A rather ordinary dandelion but with close magnification, it becomes visually stunning.

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    Unripe raspberry with withered flower petals.

    PSX_20170523_110358.thumb.jpg.072a82cd76eb7a683b4118899c008cea.jpg

     

    My pomelo seems to be gaining in size now since the other time. 

    PSX_20170523_110816.thumb.jpg.06cd20b27ce9d0dcf6d4819181e79c41.jpg

     

    Ripening blueberries

    PSX_20170523_110249.thumb.jpg.72f2222e25504464c1237f65558b90de.jpg

     

    Young lemon 

    PSX_20170523_110550.thumb.jpg.003e82acdf50cf167cc97d162cbe1a63.jpg

     

    Unripe fig

    PSX_20170523_110948.thumb.jpg.84e582af664c67a52c34d4f2fe2456a3.jpg

     

    I love the great macro results with this particular lens and I hope you like this just as much as I did! I'll probably be upkeeping with this Macro fruit blog with more photos as they develop later on. 

  9. Star Petal
    Latest Entry

    Deal Princess Celestia

     

    Today was my dad's birthday. I decided I would kidnap him for an adventure, and what an adventure it was. First, I drove all the way down two towns over and got him, then we went onto a 3 mile walk around the downtown area to work off in a hunger. The smoothie place I wanted to go to apparently was closed on the weekends, so we went without any drinks in the 90F sunny day. When we got to the end, I finally brought him to the fancy Irish pub with all its dark interior, dark hardwood floors and fancy furniture for luncheon. I had the Sheppard's pie and some Atlus Cider and he had a mushroom swiss burger and a black butte porter. We also stopped in for a CD at the music head, and before we went back we stopped for more booze ( lol ), at the local store for his final gift. Also got him a craft porter made right here in Oregon, and for those of you who don't know, Oregon has the most Breweries anywhere in the United States, and because of that, most likely-by extension, the entire world. Maybe not though, but we have a lot per capita for a place our size. Then when I got home, I took a 2 hour nap because I am exhausted. 

  10. Remember Dashie's fear of failure and sometimes overbearing self-glorification? I think the real meat of this episode was written between the lines.
    I'd say timing is important and that managing to better get along with her parents could only happen right now, in this episode, not sooner.
    I think this only makes sense if we assume that indeed Dashie enjoyed her parents' praise, despite the embarassment. That would make her an odd personality though, because I haven't heard something like this happening. Could be almost schizophrenic. Again - Would explain some of the other troubles she had to deal with and her current personality.

    I would say the overall lesson of the episode was that if your parents are like that... be cool.

    (Dashie tends to pretend to be cool, but underneath it might look different, which underlines this.)
    Remember that this is not primarily a show to teach parents (although it hopefully does teach anybody), but to teach kids, so it doesn't matter whether her parents were a bad example or not. This was about how to deal with it. B)

     

    As for the details: The door was a hilarious idea. (Subverting viewer's expectations is always fun.) Scootaloo's reaction to Dashie's outburst seemed overly dramatically extreme. The nap joke was the lowest point of the episode; horribly forced.

  11. large.jpeg

    Gooooood afternoon everypony, and welcome back to another edition of "Batbrony Reviews"!!!  Well... right now, I don't know what else to say but this...

    Magneto-perfection.gif

    Why is that?  Well, that's the first word that comes to mind regarding the latest episode of MLP to premiere in the U.S., "Parental Glideance."  This episode simply had it all, every single thing that I could possibly love about a single episode of MLP rolled into one.  It was just a delightful, perfect 22 minutes of television, and to understand why, we need to dive into what makes an episode like this so very remarkable.  This is gonna be one hell of a review ya'll, so without wasting anymore time or dawdling about, let's dive right in.  This is "Parental Glideance."

    The 'It' Factors: Why This Episode Soars

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    (1) Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles

    Alright, so since at least Season 2 the fandom has been begging, and I do mean BEGGING, to see more of the Mane 6's parents, and to date our desire to see more of their parents has never been quite sated.  The closest we've come to doing so has been in some of Pinkie Pie's episodes featuring her family, including her parents (which I love since we usually get to see them in a more normal setting, even if Pinkie is usually there for special get-togethers) and Fluttershy's parents in "Flutter Brutter" (again, another very good appearance because we got to see her parents in their home, learn that they were retired, and the conflict was even centered around Fluttershy helping them get Zephyr Breeze out of the house).  That said, up until today we had never had an episode entirely centered around one of the Mane 6's parents themselves from start to finish, and our hunger for such an episode remained unsated.  After "Parental Glideance," however... well, if anything I want more episodes like this even more now, but I will admit that my hunger for an episode centered around a Mane 6 character's parents has been temporarily sated, at least. ;)

    This episode introduced us almost immediately to none other than Rainbow Dash's parents, Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles (surprisingly distinct names when I think myself and many others in the fandom were long worried that their names would be rainbow-related as well in some fashion).  How were they?  The first word that comes to mind is delight, as in they were absolutely a delight!  These two are the walking, talking, living, breathing definition of "superfan parent."  Aside from a very hilarious gag at the beginning of the episode about how confused they both were by Scootaloo's shrieks of fangirling, Bow and Windy spent most of the episode just showing how much they adore their daughter in every single way possible, and probably also ways you never thought possible.  You wanna know what the most incredible part of it all was?  IT WORKED HERE!  The superfan parent, like so many other things in MLP, is not a concept that they invented or pulled out of a hat, this is something one encounters in both real life and popular media.  In both settings, superfan parents can very often, easily be insufferable, especially as characters, and it's easy to see why.  Superfan parents are by definition an extreme, and almost always when depicted in media operate in extremes; thus, here's how they usually get bucked up, (1) the parents come across to the audience as genuinely annoying when they're not supposed to, thereby undercutting anything that's supposed to be endearing about them, (2) the child or children of the superfan parents come off as overreacting to their parents love and adoration, thereby undercutting any degree to which we're supposed to sympathize with their exasperation at their parents behavior, or (3) the child and parents are both Flanderized and given the Mary Sue/Gary Stu treatment, meaning the child accepts the parents over-the-top behavior as perfectly normal and they and the parents get along in complete harmony, and we as the audience are supposed to enjoy this dynamic, when to the audience it simply seems that the parents live only for the child alone and all parties in the family are unrealistically perfect, if not downright obnoxious, in how much they love each other.  All three of these scenarios are failures of this trope that it is very easy for it to fall into, because, as I said, it does inherently require extreme behavior to some extent from the parents.  So while the failures are understandable, when they happen, they nonetheless make the superfan parent a trope that is all too easily more often than not an annoying one.

    This was, I am pleased to say, not the case in the slightest in this episode.  Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles, despite being superfan parents in every sense of the word, despite having multiple rooms dedicated to their daughter (presumably an only child, but not yet officially confirmed, but c'mon, until I hear otherwise, I am assuming that RD is an only child), about a million types of cheers prepared for her and situations in which to cheer her on, and even a framed diaper of hers, never really came off as that annoying.  Oh don't get me wrong, you could understand at points why they were being too much for RD to handle, but that is required for the superfan parent trope to work.  It ensured that they did not just come off as a Mary Sue and Gary Stu, but instead as fallible parents prone to embarrassing their daughter in the course of showing how much they love her, as any parent should be. ^_^  That was really the secret to making them so likable.  Most other ponies, including RD and her Wonderbolt teammates, were aware that her parents were being a bit much, but besides RD almost everypony else took it in stride because they knew it was just a couple of parents loving their daughter.  These little interactions made it easier for us to accept their behavior as endearing; none of it was really causing any issues for RD, it's not like she was being threatened with losing her spot on the Wonderbolts (I can distinctly recall a number of times where the superfan parent trope has led to a situation where the child of the parents is threatened with losing their job or some other BS if their parents don't tone it down), the worst they did was go a little overboard in their praise for Rainbow Dash (the towel-hanging cheer was too much even for me) and do a couple of not-so-safe things like shoot fireworks at her show.

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    Awwwwwwww, look how much they love watching their daughter!  SUPERFAN PARENTS ALL THE WAY!!!

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    OK guys, that's enough, don't wanna get too excited now do we?

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    C'mon guys, cut it- OH BUCK, THAT'S A FIREWORK CANNON, YUP, THAT'S A CANNON THAT IS FLINGING FIREWORKS, HOW DID YOU EVEN GET THAT IN HERE PAST SECURITY YOU CRAZY BUCKS!!! :love:

    Overall, however, my biggest takeaway from these two was just what a good thing their love for their daughter was.  Really, I mean it.  That's really the secret to making the superfan parent trope work as a whole; they need to seem both real, even fallible and embarrassing, but when all is said and done their love for their child must both be at the core of who they are as characters and a likable quality, even if it's a bit much at times.  That's what I got from start to finish here with these two.  They lived and breathed RD, but not in a way that was harmful to their own well-being or their daughter's.  Every fiber of their being was devoted to helping their daughter become the best pony she could be, letting her know that she was the best pony she could possibly be in their eyes no matter what she did, and letting as many ponies know as possible just how much they love their daughter.  It didn't come off as coddling, or overbearing, or their only character trait whatsoever.  From the little we gathered about the two of them at the start of their episode, they lead their own lives and RD is NOT their only pastime or hobby; Bow came off as perfectly normal when he was *snickers* mowing their cloud lawn at the start of the episode (speaking of which, I just realized he almost pushed the mower into Scootaloo's head... thankfully it was just an old fashioned push mower, otherwise I would've been more concerned about her safety), and Windy seems to have some kind of obsession with Princess Celestia based on her collection of both Princess Celestia commemorative plates and some kind of Princess Celestia figurines in the background.  But the love they have for their daughter is still a core of their character and who they are, but here it simply worked all the way through.  Sure they generally behaved in a manner that varied between energetic and highly kinetic to downright frantic, but that worked because they're Rainbow Dash's parents and she's acted the same way plenty of times.  The fact that they were like little schoolfillies whenever they talked about their daughter was downright adorable, and their cheering segments were some of the funniest parts of the entire episode.  Heck, it was so endearing that I found myself even wanting what they have, in a general sense; that kind of unhinged, unmitigated, unconditional love that only a parent could feel for their children in such indescribably wonderful ways, and hey, I'm very much hoping I do get the opportunity to feel that sensation some day!  All in all, I would love to see these two again after their first appearance.  They did what is the toughest thing for any new character in the show these days to do, they added a real layer of heart to the show, and it was especially gratifying to see the parents of a Mane 6 character do so.  What more can I say other than I totally dug these two, am totally onboard the Bow Hothoof/Windy Whistles bandwagon, and can't wait to see more of them.  Stand up and give these two a cheer everypony!  Just, eh, don't bring any firework cannons... :unsure:

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    This... I want this... I want to give this some day to a kid of my own so badly now (well, even more than I did before)

    (2) Scootaloo

    The other heart of this episode, besides Rainbow Dash's parents, was oddly not Rainbow Dash at all, it was Scootaloo.  In fact, I'd say this episode was more of a Scootaloo episode than a Rainbow Dash episode.  Oh sure, Rainbow Dash learned the lesson here, but I don't think the point of this episode was the lesson learned, at least not entirely.  The point was contrasting Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash, stand-ins for two types of kids; those with incredibly loving parents who might embarrass them on occasion in how much they love them... and those without such parents.  Scootaloo flat out says at one point in this episode that she's never had the kind of parental support that Rainbow Dash has to this day from her parents; while this is not by any means a sure confirmation of the "Scootaloo is an orphan" fan theories, it's the closest we've ever come to it being confirmed.  There are now only two options left: (1) Scootaloo is an orphan, or (2) she has incredibly neglectful parents, both of which would be devastating.  I suppose there is a third scenario possible in which her parents knew from the start that she couldn't fly and so never really encouraged her to be her best in order to keep her safe, but I doubt that's the case.

    Anyways, without deviating too much, Scootaloo is in my estimation the heart of this episode.  Among the CMC, I would argue that right now she's actually the most innocent of the three still for a very particular reason (and no, it's not just because she sounds the youngest of them because her VA's voice has changed the least, though that does help).  We now know after this episode that Scootaloo has spent the entirety of the show kind of building herself a surrogate family, between her friends, Rainbow Dash, and now Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles.  All her life she's wanted to follow Rainbow Dash's example, and in this episode she got so much joy just from seeing how Rainbow Dash turned out the way she was because of how her parents raised her.  My takeaway from this is that Scootaloo, more than Apple Bloom or Sweetie Belle, is the most appreciative of the CMC of the simplest blessings and joys in life.  Things like RD's mom making RD her favorite sandwich, or her parents giving her a trophy room with all sorts of childhood mementos, scrapbooking every second of her life that they could, cheering her on at every opportunity that they could get, these are things which Scootaloo holds as precious because, based on what we've seen and she said, she's never had that.  She knows that it's not the effects of what they do that are what count, but just the fact that they're doing them, THAT'S the love, and that's what she wants more than anything else.  It's not being the best that matters to her (she may say she wants to be just like Rainbow Dash, but she's so different from Rainbow Dash, and not just physically), it's just having someone pushing you to be your best, someone there for you no matter what.  If nothing else, you could just tell how much joy it was bringing to Scootaloo to even feel like she was sharing in RD's family's experiences, even just a little bit.

    I think more than anything else, the final scene confirms that she is the true heart of this episode.  Rainbow Dash may have learned the biggest lesson here, but Scootaloo got the most out of all of this.  Not only did she get to learn where Rainbow Dash came from and what helped make her into the pony she'd become, but because of how she helped remind her of that in showing RD how great she had it in comparison to herself and so many other colts and fillies, she also got even more of a family out of it.  It seems that both her personality rubbing off on the two, as well as possibly RD telling her parents that Scootaloo could use a little more support in her own life, has led to Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles treating her as something of a surrogate daughter by the end of the episode as well, much as Rainbow Dash treats Scootaloo already as a surrogate sister.  It's hard to exactly say how much this is the case since the most they do is give her a cheering section after getting her report grade, but the fact that they even made cheer-gear for her would suggest they're pretty serious about this, and the look on Scootaloo's face when they do so says it all.  Just look at her, she looks like she's about shed tears of joy!

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    Rainbow got reminded of how important her family is to her by somepony who knows because there's probably nothing more she'd want than a family that's always there for her, and that filly may have just gotten her wish to some extent.  So here's hoping we see Scootaloo more with RD and her family, she had a great outing, one of her best episodes in quite some time, and hopefully got something she's always dreamed of, a family that loves her.

    Also, her fangirling was adorable as buck, I'm sorry, it just needed to be said.

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    Hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggg... TOO... CUTE!!! :wub:

    (3) Backstory and Continuity... Lots and Lots of Backstory and Continuity... Spoken and Unspoken

    Jeric told me yesterday that the writer of this episode, Josh Hamilton (a first time MLP:FiM writer), has written in the past for Avatar: The Last Airbender and the The Legend of Korra.  So needless to say, he has some good credentials.  Nonetheless, the debut he made in this show was simply shocking for me, namely in his handling of show continuity.  This episode gives backstory galore, and not just with Rainbow Dash.  In fact, I finished this episode not thinking of it as the best Rainbow Dash episode ever, but rather the best episode about Rainbow Dash I've ever seen, if that makes sense.  In case it doesn't, let's just count all of the backstory we get in this episode.

    #1. Rainbow Dash's Backstory - so before this episode we knew how RD got her cutie mark and helped Fluttershy and the other Mane 6 get theirs (inadvertently), but we never knew much else besides that about her childhood.  Well here, we got filly RD galore.  The flashbacks themselves were pretty simple and just showed her on the podium for flying competitions (although they had far more depth than one would initially assume, but we'll get to that later), but there were dozens of photos (most of which we could make out) of Rainbow Dash littered throughout this episode. Most of them showed Rainbow as a filly or foal (which was adorable), and showed us either (1) some stage of her life, or (2) just served as testament to the many ways in which her parents loved her.  Regardless, it was a nice bit of silent backstory (which is what I mean by things unspoken, though it is hardly the only bit of backstory or continuity unspoken in this episode), and a nice recognition from the writers that not all backstory needs to be given in flashbacks or exposition alone.  You can convey things about characters lives in all kinds of ways, not just by straight up telling us.  Oh, but we're just getting started.

    #2. Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts - this was a nice little bit of continuity that would be easy to miss, but I think it came up enough that it's worth noting.  This was one of the first episodes where we really got to see Rainbow as a normal, full-fledged Wonderbolt, and it showed.  While I wouldn't say the Wonderbolts have treated her badly or anything since she joined them ("Newbie Dash" was way more RD's fault than theirs), she only joined them last season (approximately a season ago actually as of this episode), and since then it's still felt fresh.  Well here, it didn't, it actually felt like she was just another member, albeit an exceptional one, of the Wonderbolts.  She had a normal rapport with them, she knew her place in their routines, they're even doing favors for her.  Heck, even the ways they rib her felt normal; she's clearly still one of the younger ones, but Spitfire and Fleetfoot never gave her anymore crap about her parents than they should have.  In fact, Spitfire didn't really say anything at all other than get a little miffed initially by their training getting interrupted (oh, and getting her poor tail cut off, and frankly she should have been madder about that), and Fleetfoot spent a lot of the episode trying to reassure RD that her parents weren't being that bad (although she did steal RD's shit-eating grin from "Daring Don't," but I don't mind, because that smug face is spectacular and frankly we need to see it more, and it was perfectly called for in that scene... keep doing your thing Fleetfoot, I love when our favorite lisping pegasus gets all sassy).  Overall, like I said, it was really cool seeing RD just being another one of the Wonderbolts; she might be their captain someday considering she's that good of a flier, but frankly, right now, she's clearly just happy to be living her dream as one of the fliers she always dreamed of being.  I like that, and I'm glad we got to get a real look at that and her normal, Wonderbolt responsibilities.  Not to mention they were all super awesome for doing that really, really, really nice favor for her at the end, that was cool to see.  I love so much that at this point they're pretty much this other subset of friends for RD, albeit on a professional basis.

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    Dayummmmmm girllllll, you just somehow captured, like, all of the sass and smugness in all of Equestria in one look, and it looks amazing!!! B)  Also, now that I think about it, this could double as a flirty look... I'm not gonna take that strain of thought any further, just think about it for yourselves and what scenario would demand THAT being used as a flirty look. :yay:

    #3. Thunderlane's a Wonderbolt - Holy shit, Thunderlane's a Wonderbolt now!  When did this happen?  I don't know, but I don't care, it's just really cool that he's a Wonderbolt now.  I think we'd seen him in the Wonderbolt Reserves before, but based on the one shot of him in the Wonderbolts locker room, in an actual Wonderbolt uniform, not a Reserves uniform, I can only conclude that Thunderlane is now a Wonderbolt.  This is super cool because now RD is no longer even the only flier from Ponyville in the Wonderbolts; we've seen Thunderlane since Season 2 and as far as we know he still lives in Ponyville.  Also it makes it actually a little clearer how difficult it is to get into the Wonderbolts, or rather, the level of flying that is required.  Since RD was the flier we largely followed for six seasons trying to get into the Wonderbolts, it always seemed like it was damn near impossible to get in.  But Thunderlane is clearly just an exceptional flier, nowhere near RD's level, but very good nonetheless.  The fact that he's in now makes it clear that there is actually a bit of a range one encounters in the levels of talent among the fliers in the Wonderbolts.  Not all of them are going to be at RD's level or even close necessarily, they just have to be better than most fliers.  It's still an elite unit, but it's nice having a better sense of who gets in there now.

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    #4. Other Wonderbolts Continuity - Not much to say here other than Vapor Trail and Sky Stinger showing up super briefly (in Wonderbolt Reserves uniforms), which was nice to see.  And at least Sky Stinger didn't talk this time; he may not be a douchebag anymore, but that doesn't change the fact that he still sounds like a douchebag.  Anyways, I did enjoy seeing those two ever so briefly, nice bit of Season 6 continuity there.

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    He's so much less annoying when he's not talking, and she's as adorable as ever... YOU'RE STILL TOO GOOD FOR HIM, VAPOR!!! :angry:

    #5. THE GREATEST THING YOU'LL EVER SEE - OK, so this may be just a bit of an exaggeration here, BUT this last bit of silent backstory was a real game changer.  Did it have anything to do with Rainbow Dash?  No, not really.  The Wonderbolts?  Not really, even though they're there too.  Well then who, you might ask?

    DERPY. BUCKING. HOOVES.  THAT'S WHO!!!

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    In a span of about 10 seconds, Derpy got perhaps the most important piece of backstory we've ever seen her get, and it all comes down to her eyes.  In the flashback where Rainbow Dash is describing how embarrassing her parents were, we clearly see Derpy at first on top of the podium among the young fliers, clearly the best of them all.  When RD mentions that she was the youngest in that entire group, we learn quite a bit already, namely that Derpy (and about every other pony she was flying with there) is older than her (which actually makes sense, fans have long speculated that RD is one of the youngest of the Mane 6).  But then when RD starts showing her progression higher and higher in the flier standings, we see simultaneously Derpy getting lower and lower.  Why?  HER EYES!  Her eyes continue to get progressively worse as she gets lower in the standings.  Combine this with the single shot of her in the Ponyville Hospital in "Where the Apple Lies" with bandages over her eyes, and suddenly, without a single word being said about it, WE HAVE US A CANON BACKSTORY OF SOME KIND FOR DERPY HOOVES!  HOLY SHIT!

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    What we know right now for sure is that (1) she used to be a really good flier, (2) her eyes used to be straight, (3) she got worse at flying, and probably clumsier, when her eyes started getting worse, (4) she tried and failed to get them fixed in her late teens or young adulthood, and (5) she is now perfectly happy living with them as they are.  Holy buck, that is a crapload of backstory for a bucking BACKGROUND PONY!!!  A BACKGROUND PONY!!!  Needless to say, this was the single most important thing in the episode for me seeing as it involves my best pony, and that's saying quite a lot considering this was a bucking great episode.  But this, I want so badly more backstory like THIS!!!  SO, SO, SO MUCH!!!  Josh Hamilton, thank you for such a lovely and unexpected treat, and writers, please take notes, we want more things like this.  For all I know, this could be even setting up a future Derpy-centric episode, and if it is, I am going to go NUTS!!!  I'm not even sure anyone will be able to console me and bring me down from the high that shall be achieved, it would be truly epic in its proportions.

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    The Lesson, And What It Means To All The Rainbow Dashes and Scootaloos Out There

    So like I said, this is not a Rainbow Dash episode to me so much as an episode about Rainbow Dash.  And really, the lesson was not just directed at Rainbow Dash, or kids or adults like Rainbow Dash.  The lesson was directed at all the Rainbow Dashes AND Scootaloos out there.  For all like RD, the lesson was something akin to the same one that learned by a certain character in a certain recent Marvel flick (I won't spoil anything for those who haven't seen it, but I'll just leave this song here for those who have, and they'll know what I'm talking about), that being that there are things in life that, while you have them it's easy to take them for granted.  With parents, especially parents like RD's with love, praise, support, and encouragement so bottomless to the point that it can be embarrassing at times, it's REALLY easy for someone like RD to take them for granted.  But then she's confronted by Scootaloo, a pony who's never had what she had, and suddenly she's confronted with wondering what would have been if she never had her parents, or possibly even wondering what if she didn't have them tomorrow?  Suddenly, what RD was confronted with more than anything was the single question, "Had she taken them for granted, and what if they didn't really know how much she loved them for always being there for her?  What if they never knew?"  More important than anything she's ever achieved is simply that her parents have been there for her every step of the way, so the least RD figures she can do for them is try to be there for them as much as they've been there for her.  That's what family does, no matter what we end up doing with our lives, the very least and most we have to give each other is all the love and support that we can, and it's a wonderful lesson that RD learned, truly.

    As for Scootaloo, while she didn't really learn anything in quite the same way that RD did, I think what she did learn is to never stop hoping for the support and love that she's always wanted.  Even if she'll never get it from her actual parents, whether they're dead, abandoned her, or just really neglectful, she learned that there are other ponies out there ready at a moment's notice to give her the love and support she's always wanted.  It just took a little searching to find.  For all the other Scootaloos out there, it's a lesson to never give up hoping for the love you may not have gotten from those who should have given it to you most.  You just might have to find it elsewhere, and it may be hard, and there may be a lot of hurt along the way, but if you look hard enough, it just may be out there for you.  Overall, just never stop hoping and looking, because you'll never know when you might find it; before you know it, you might have your very own family lifting you on their shoulders (or hooves) cheering you on for the B you just got on your awesome report, moldy sandwich included.

    Aesthetic Notes

    Just a couple of things to note about the, as always, amazing animation.  First, it was great seeing so much of Cloudsdale, as well as seeing Scootaloo up there finally (though the best part of that was seeing how she got up there).  Second, wing expressions, I NEED MORE OF THESE!  They were incredibly creative and I feel like we haven't seen nearly enough of them.

    Finally, Windy Whistles was adorable as buck, and there were quite a few shots which you can compare to past RD stills and see quite a bit of similarity between the two.  So A-plus to the animators for giving her a distinct character design (and an adorable one at that) while still making her clearly RD's mom in appearance, especially in the face and some of her expressions.

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    Minor, Minor, Minor Gripes

    OK, so despite saying this is a perfect episode, I have just a handful of minor, minor, minor things to bring up that weren't so perfect but do require being addressed.  First, how the buck did RD's parents not know she was a Wonderbolt?  I know they said at one point that they didn't go to Wonderbolt performances so long as she wasn't in them, and that it's not like they have television or the Internet, BUT they do have newspapers, which presumably have sports sections, and I have a hard time believing that it was never reported in a Cloudsdale newspaper that a national hero from that city had been inducted into the Wonderbolts.  They sure didn't look like they were living as hermits either.  I suppose I could believe that RD would be anal enough in her attempts to keep them from finding out that she'd be willing to steal their newspapers, but until I hear for sure that that's what she did, I'm just gonna chalk this up to a tiny bit of lazy writing.

    Second, there was only one section of this episode I didn't particularly care for, that being when Scootaloo had her exposition dump of RD's time in the Wonderbolt Reserves to RD's parents.  Don't get me wrong, I could totally see her telling them this stuff, I just don't know why we needed to see it.  It felt forced and awkward in its delivery (although her parents reactions, especially Windy Whistles, were pretty hilarious and adorable), but this felt more like exposition for the sake of audience members who never saw these episodes than anything that we needed to see her parents learn.  It wasn't awful, just wasn't executed particularly well.  Other than that, I literally have no other complaints for this episode, it was just that great.

    The Ideal Season 7 Episode

    I said to a friend after watching this episode (*cough* Jeric *cough*) that, overall, this episode encapsulates everything I'd want in a standard episode in the 7th season of MLP:FiM.  This show is so established at this point, that you can't just keep doing the same thing you've done in other seasons all the time.  You need to have payoff!  Payoff doesn't just have to be for long-term storylines, the most important in all the show; it can be for smaller story threads as well, things revolving around main characters like RD or Scootaloo, or even background/supporting characters like Derpy and Thunderlane.  The point is, this show has made it clear that there is a distinct passage of time by this point.  It may be difficult to follow at times, but it's safe to say that at least years have passed by this time in the show.  This isn't always made clear, but it's great when the show does recognize this, in big and small ways.

    Besides the triumphs of backstory and continuity, the introduction of RD's parents to the show was seamless.  This is not always the case when it comes to the parents of a main character; sometimes they're too similar to a character to be distinct, other times they're so different that you can't believe they even are the parents of a certain character.  But in this case, not only did Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles most definitely seem just about right in their behavior to be RD's parents, but they were also plenty distinct.  They weren't freakish athletes just like her (as far as we know at least), they weren't trying to vicariously live through her by making her achievements their own, and they weren't her polar opposites.  They were just parents with a ridiculous amount of love for their daughter, and by the end of the episode showed themselves to have plenty of love to spare for others as well, in this case Scootaloo.  Their introduction was so smooth, so seamless, that the episode barely can be said to have revolved around them; oh sure, they were main characters of it, but they felt very much like they fit naturally alongside characters we've been following for over six seasons like Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash.  THAT is how you introduce parents of main characters at this point in the show.

    Overall, this is the greatest triumph of Season 7 thus far, just an absolutely phenomenal, nearly flawless episode in every which way possible.  If we get more episodes like this this season, you certainly won't find me complaining, and here's hoping we get more episodes featuring Mane 6 parents or even more backstory/continuity for characters like Derpy or Thunderlane.  That's all I've got for ya'll this week everypony.  Until next week, this is Batbrony signing off.  I'm off!!! *cue dramatic exit*

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  12. In any other season, "Not Asking for Trouble" would be a middle-of-the-road throwaway episode. It's simple, it repeats a lot of jokes, and its moral has already been done in this show. In season 7, however, I'm just glad the episode was funny, even though its simplicity wasn't enough to carry the handful of funny gags. Those repeated jokes are at least good on their own, Pinkie Pie is consistently delightful, and it's neat to learn just a little bit more about yak culture, but this is hardly a memorable episode in the grand scheme of the show, even with its small virtues.
    When Pinkie Pie is invited to a festival in the village of Yakyakistan, she takes on extra responsibilities as a "friendship ambassador," and is dedicated to making a good impression. However, when this festival leads to an avalanche covering the village, she and the Yak leader, Prince Rutherford, clash over whether Pinkie should ask her friends for help. 
     
    Asking for help is was one of the show's earliest morals. Season one episode four, "Applebuck Season," had this exact same moral. Because this is such a stale moral, the conflict of "Not Asking for Trouble" is never especially engaging, because it's both very simple and very familiar. In "Applebuck Season," the simple conflict contributed to Applejack's character building, and while the same is true here for Prince Rutherford, this just isn't a distinctive character trait for him. Initially, it seems that his stubbornness is partially because he doesn't want to ask non-yaks for help, but soon it becomes clear that he just doesn't like asking for help in general. At no point do either Rutherford or Pinkie have any self-doubt, and so the entire episode is little more than Pinkie trying to convince Rutherford to let her call her pony friends over. 
     
    As a result, the entire episode is reliant on how creative Pinkie's attempts are. Thankfully, they're at worst still fairly amusing. First, she tells a fable where goats stand in for the yaks and cows stand in for the ponies, and second she attempts to lie that her friends want to come over and try the snow sandwiches which the yaks have begun eating in lieu of real food. Rutherford sees through both attempts, but Pinkie's efforts are amusing to watch nonetheless, as are her earlier attempts to appreciate and fit into Yak society. She clearly doesn't fully understand it, but she's constantly self-conscious about that, and attempts to be respectful in spite of her own lack of appreciation. 
     
    Pinkie's relative maturity here doesn't come at the expense of her outgoing personality, however. She's still very loud and very excitable, and spends a good deal of the episode talking. Either she's trying to pass balloon trips by playing games with Gummy, stating her appreciation for Yak culture, or attempting to convince Rutherford, and while her characterization isn't exaggerated, it's not especially deep either. Aside from her efforts at cultural relativism, the episode doesn't tell us anything new about Pinkie, but thankfully her usual surface charms are intact. She's still creative and funny, her enthusiasm is still infectious, and her empathy is still admirable. Combine this with a small but respectable degree of patience - she respects the Yaks' wishes until she sees kids complaining - and this is probably one of her more solid appearances in recent memory.
     
    I do enjoy seeing just a little more about Yak culture, and as always, I enjoy the relative sensitivity the show tends to treat them with. Unlike griffons, dragons, or even changelings to an extent, they don't stand in for specific personality traits, and since it's Rutherford alone who is keeping the yaks from calling for help, the climax doesn't devolve into ponies saving a foreign culture from itself, therefore avoiding unfortunate implications. Rutherford explains the Yikslurbertfest holiday as yaks smashing things to relax, and that's the kind of interesting cultural development which gave season 6's "Gauntlet of Fire" its novelty. Furthermore, Rutherford demonstrates more of a sense of humour here, at one point tricking Pinkie into thinking she broke a stick, which he announces by telling her to "check herself before she wrecks herself." 
     
    Also funny is Gummy, who makes recurring appearances for visual gags where his lack of any reaction to what's happening around him never fails to be amusing. Gummy doesn't even respond when Pinkie tries to play games with him, and all of these gags are especially funny due to the context of season 5's "Slice of Life." What is he thinking at any of these moments? The question is funnier than any answer could be. This gag is repeated a few times, as are a few others, but they're at least good gags to repeat. In the climax, Pinkie manages to bring her friends over, and we even get to hear Rainbow deny Pinkie the game she was failing to play with Gummy. Ultimately the mane six don't get many opportunities to banter, but they do wind up clearing the snow from Yakyakistan. 
     
    And yet, it's not clear how they accomplish this. Earlier, we saw the Yaks themselves failing to clear the snow together, so how were six ponies able to do a better job? They didn't even bring Spike, whose dragon breath might have been particularly helpful. Furthermore, while this situation is clearly desperate enough that going against Rutherford's wishes was the right call, I'm not sure if this moral could be applied more broadly. It actually does differ from "Applebuck Season" in that it also involves helping friends even if they don't ask for it, but I don't think I'd want unsolicited help unless the situation was indeed urgent. With that said, Pinkie doesn't barge in until she's certain that the situation is urgent and that the yaks don't have a plan, so more likely it's not meant to apply beyond such an urgent situation. Still a little rote, however. 
     
    Any other season, this would be an unremarkable episode, but this is season 7, and I'm just glad for something funny. While the episode doesn't capitalize on it, "Not Asking for Trouble" does give characters a lot more space to breathe than many others this season, and while it's not as funny as the other three episodes I liked, it's still got a lot of strong jokes going for it, and that's the most basic thing I'm asking for. It's disappointing that this is one of the season's best episodes, but beggars can't be choosers, and "Not Asking for Trouble" is enjoyable enough in its own right even if it's not terribly memorable. This show should be doing better, but this episode is fine. 
     
    Score:
    Entertainment: 7/10
    Characters: 7/10
    Themes: 5/10
    Story: 6/10
    Overall: 63/100
     
    You can find more like this at my offsite blog
  13. Often referred to as "Dragon Buses" or simply "Chinatown Buses are services offered by companies founded by Chinese American or Chinese Canadians which offer low cost no frills transportation from a Chinatown District in one city to another. (Boston Chinatown <---> NYC Chinatown <----> Washington DC Gallery Place Chinatown)

     

    Despite the efforts of larger companies like Greyhound (Bolt Bus) and Coach USA-Stagecoach Group (Megabus) to capture some of this market Chinatown buses remain a fixture of any major city on the East Coast. Here are the major players:

     

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    Vacances Sinorama/Autocars Gaudreault MCI J4500

     

    Vacances Sinorama: Perhaps the most organized and professional of all the Chinatown bus services Sinorama Bus operates out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Operating both charter service and 3 day guided tours Sinorama Bus caters largely to Canadians and Americans of Chinese descent by offering Tours of major East Coast Cities in Mandarin, French and English. Unique among this type of service, Sinorama Bus does not own its fleet but partners with established Coach and Charter Companies to provide the vehicles. A unique partnership that gives both companies steady business.

     

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    Lucky Star Setra S13

     

    Lucky Star Bus: Focusing on the Boston <-----> NYC Hub Lucky Star was a major player in the Chinatown bus scene until being ordered to halt operations after major safety defects were discovered among its fleet. In one instance a manhole cover was found to be wedged between the Chassis and body frame, that could only be missed due to a lack of a maintenance schedule. Its fleet was taken out of service by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration until it was brought up to standards. Lucky Star was recently given the All Clear by the FMCSA to begin operating again after passing inspection.

     

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    Safeway Tours Prevost H3-45

     

    Safeway Tours:  Operating out of Canada, Another service on the more Professional side, Safeway Tours offers charter service in areas with high populations of Chinese descent. Its focus is primarily on the Casino Market. As Gambling laws in major Eastern Cities in both Canada and the United States become more relaxed buses are needed to take passengers back and forth to the new Casinos and Hotels that have been established following the trend. Safeway Tours operates a fleet with newer safer buses and caters to a higher clientele.

     

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    Fung Wah Bus Van Hool C2045

     

    Fung Wah Bus Transportation: Nearly everyone who has ever used a Chinatown Bus out of NYC has heard of Fung Wah (Chinese for Magnificent Wind).  Fung Wah Bus was one of the first Chinatown bus companies to take off capturing a market which was largely ignored by Greyhound. The Boston Chinatown to NYC Chinatown business started with Fung Wah Bus and after its success prompted others to follow suit and imitate its clever business model. Fung Wah Bus sold tickets in Kiosks on the side walk in both Chinatown districts lowering overhead costs by not having much real estate. Buses did not use terminals which cost money but picked passengers up on the side walk. The business was very profitable however Fung Wah ignored all Federal and State (Massachusetts and New York) regulations with regard to bus travel and maintenance. It's fleet consisted of older model Van Hool coaches which if maintained properly would not have been an issue. Fung Wah Buses routinely broke down while on their route and there were several instances of the buses catching fire due to a lack of maintenance. Fung Wah Bus also had notoriously terrible safety record with accidents including serious roll overs on the highway and buses crashing into buildings and store fronts. Drivers at Fung Wah rarely spoke English and according to passengers would run red lights and drive very fast to get passengers to the destination early, disregarding traffic laws. Fung Wah was ordered to shut down by the FMCSA pending a review of its fleet. Fung Wah was given a deadline to get all of its buses up to proper inspection before being allowed to operate. Fung Wah Bus has since been permanently shut down by the FMCSA. It is rumored its buses have returned to service under a different Alias. 

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    YO! Bus MCI J4500

     

    YO! Bus: Yo! Bus was an attempt by Greyhound to capture some of the Chinatown bus business after the smaller private companies had become successful. Greyhound took its oldest buses operating in the east coast and rebranded them with YO! Bus livery and began to offer a service similar to the other Chinatown bus companies. The company was projected to be successful as Greyhound's fleet of buses were well maintained and safety is a big concern to riders of Chinatown buses. YO! Bus offered trips to Philadelphia as well. However Greyhound was not able to lower prices enough to be competitive with the smaller companies. YO! Bus was replaced with Greyhound's BoltBus service and competes with both the Chinatown Buses and with Megabus for the NYC market. 

     

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    Apex Bus Van Hool C2045

     

    Apex Bus: Starting a bit further south, Apex Bus Links Norfolk, Virginia with Washington DC and then from DC to either Philadelphia or NYC. Apex Bus much like Lucky Star was shut down due to maintenance concerns. The company temporarily rebranded itself while shut down by the FMCSA to stay in business. Its fleet was brought up to inspection but the company was fined for skirting regulations.

     

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    Eastern Shuttle Van Hool C2045

     

    Eastern Shuttle: Just before the Feds started their east coast bus inspection purge, Greyhound had been attempting to buy into one of the Chinatown operators to avoid spending money using its own fleet. This perked the interest of Coach USA as well and Coach USA invested in Eastern Shuttle taking the smaller company to a higher level with increasing business. Coach USA has since withdrawn from Eastern Shuttle and retained control over one of its two routes while retaining similar branding. Coach USA buses operating under the Eastern branding have pictures of Pandas painted on them and are much newer.  

     

    Would you use a Chinatown Bus?

     

     

    Lucky Star and Eastern 

     

     

     

     

  14. MGSV:

    -Several Stuff

     

    Uncharted Run:

    Uncharted 4(With Rainbow Fun Land Rendering and No Gravity)

    --Prologue

    --The Lure of Adventure

    --Infernal Place

    --The Malaysia Job

    --A Normal Life

    --Hector Alcazar

    --Once a Thief...

    --Lights Out

    --The Grave of Henry Avery

    --Those Who Prove Worthy

    --The Twelve Towers

    --Hidden in Plain Sight

    --At Sea

    --Marooned

    --Join Me in Paradise

    --The Thieves of Libertalia

    --The Brothers Drake

    --For Better or Worse

    --New Devon

    --Avery's Descent

    --No Escape

    --Brother's Keeper

    --A Thief's End

    --Epilogue

  15. Varrack
    Latest Entry

    The last several months of my life have been absolutely surreal and life-changing. I will never, ever be the same, nor do I wish to be how I once was.

    When God himself visits you in the dark of night, and shows you how long wandered from him, you can never be the same.

    When your social circle collapses, your grades plummet through the floor, your family splinters into pieces, your belief system shatters, and your self-esteem drops like a rock, you can never, EVER, be the same.

    Mankind, you see, is stuck in this loop. This loop of constant self-gratification, distraction, and ignorance of the upper nature of the universe. We live to die, trying to enjoy the most of the life we get here.

    That's how I was. Until I saw that my life was a bunch of smoke and mirrors...and realized that the things I thought I cared about didn't actually matter.

    When you see the devil face-to-face, it snaps you out of that cycle. It gives you meaningful perspective, and shows you the very root of your pain.

    Everyone suffers in silence...let's not deny it. We all have issues, we all have faults. But if you're lucky enough to be so succumbed by your faults that you realize they aren't really you...it is probably the best thing that could ever happen to you.

    If you suffer, it is no one else's fault. No one put you in your unfortunate circumstances. They just happened. If you can accept the fact that you were put in these circumstances by nature and it happened for your very growth...then it is very easy to forgive yourself.

    I have long held anger and resentment in my heart. I have long felt hurt and suppressed. I have long been backed up against a corner, hating myself for being there.

    But it is not YOUR fault, the reader, that I am here. And I am NOT a victim...so much as my mind says I'm not. I absolutely CAN change my attitude toward life and not hold anger toward another human being...because I was always worthy of being forgiven, and was never actually hurt in the first place.

    The hurt just existed in my head. Remove those toxic emotions from myself, and I become new. My reality completely changes, and my real self emerges. It was as if I was never angry in the first place...as if I was always light on my feet with nothing I could possibly be bothered by.

    I don't have to be an antisocial loser, because I never was one outside of my own delusion. The delusions that plague so many people cause them to hesitate and be miserable in their lives. If I have any room for self-forgiveness (and I do), then there is no reason to be unhappy and bitter.

    I have been depressed and anxious for the last several months and refused to move at all, fearful of myself and what was to become of me. But now I know that the root cause of my depression was my own self-doubt and deep hole of shame that chained me down for so long and held me prisoner in my own body.

    Thank you, Lord, for showing me the light. Allow me to find myself again.

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    I've had this thing for over two months now, and have used it everyday. I think it's time for a review!

    For starters, I think that as a watch, this is a very good looking watch. It's that it looks like a normal watch that I think it looks so nice. The stainless steel body is as nice to look at as it is tough. I have bumped this against a few things, and it is almost completely scratch-free. There is a small scratch on the bezel, but I can't see it very easily, so I forget that it's even there. 

    At 46 mm in diameter, it's quite large too. I don't mind a large watch, but if you don't like a big watch, you might not like this one. It's also got a bit of heft to it as well at 59 grams (without any band on it), but really, it's not exactly a block of tungsten strapped to your wrist or anything like that. It's also pretty tall too, but considering that it has a battery, speaker, microphone, optical sensor for the heartrate monitor on the back, inductive charging, a daughterboard with a dual-core CPU on it, RAM, and 4 gigs storage...

    OK, it's big, but it's manageable to me.

    The display on it is a 1.3 inch, 360x360 AMOLED panel. And like any AMOLED or OLED display, colors are very well done, and are more efficient than any LCD display, which is good for anything that has a battery. It has Corning Gorilla glass SR+, which is designed with wearables in mind. I do have a tempered glass screen protector on it anyway. I'd rather that get damaged than the actual screen itself.

    I find using it be very easy and intuitive. You can either swipe left or right to switch between the widgets on what I refer to as the home screen, or you can rotate the bezel to do the same, which I imagine most users prefer. You can also swipe down to bring up a screen that shows battery life, connection status, brightness, etc., pretty much like an Android phone. So if you use an Android phone, the learning curve is pretty much non-existent.

    Battery life is also better than I expected. With a 380 mAH Li-Ion battery Samsung claims you can get 4 days out of it, but in my use, I can get almost 4 days before I need to charge it. I get this by turning it on as I'm leaving for work, and having it on until I get home, or until I decide to take it off, where I then turn it off. When I do place it on the charger, the display can always display the battery percentage, even if I turned it off before charging, but only if I press a button on the side. Or, if I leave it on, I can check it by usng the Samsung Gear app If you want to get the most out of the battery life, I would recommend setting the brightness setting between 4-6, set to auto brightness, and turn the Always-on Display off as it can really eat into the battery. I tested that, and on the 2nd day, I drained the battery within 3 hours. So I don't recommend using the AOD at all unless you don't mind charging this everyday.

    Another thing I love about this watch is that it can use a standard 22 mm band, so I'm not limited to whatever Samsung has on their site. Although, the included genuine leather band (which really is leather) which comes with the Classic model is nice enough already. On the Frontier version, you get a silicone band. I personally prefer the look of a metal band, so I have a black Milanese band on mine. Of course, the Frontier also uses 22 mm bands, so you can use a crocodile pattern leather band on the Frontier, or a brightly colored silicone band on the classic (As weird as that would look.)

    Like Samsung's smartphones, this has an IP68 rating, so I can walk with it while it is raining and not have to worry about it getting water damage. However, I wouldn't go swimming with it on. And probably not taking a shower with it on either. It also has the MIL-STD-810G rating, so not only is is extremely dust and water resistant, it is also military tough. 

    It also features Samsung Health, which tracks your steps, calories burned, floors climbed, your heart-rate, and even how long you've slept and rates how efficiently your sleep was. Although, in my case, I could get less than 5 hours, and it rates 91% efficiency, so take that with a grain of salt. Although based on what I've read this watch doesn't replace a dedicated fitness watch, but it can get you in the ballpark, and that is good enough for me.

    This watch is also compatible with just about every phone from the last couple of years. Android 4.4 or greater (so it worked on my HTC One M8), and even iPhone 5 and iOS 9 is supported, although it's more limited than if you was using Android. However, if you do use this with a non-Samsung Android phone, be prepared to install a bunch of apps you'll probably never use just to to get it to work at all. You'll only really ever use the Gear app. But the Gear S3 also is another option if you are an iPhone user. If you are an Apple fan (ugh) you might be better off with an Apple Watch, but y'know, you don't necessarily have to buy that one...

    My absolute favorite thing about it is the watch face can be changed to something you like. It has 15 pre-installed faces, which has some that are useful, but they really just feel like technical demonstrations than a unique watch face but I also have 33 faces, (including a pizza face of all things, because why not) and I keep finding more on the store. 

    Speaking of the store one thing I don't like about it is not that you have to buy faces (there are plenty of free ones too), but a lot of the paid ones are kinda low-quality, while a free alternative is better. For example, I have a Pip-boy face that was free, but there are a couple of Pip-boy faces that are paid that aren't very good. The ones that are paid, or at least the ones I have, are very good and are worth the price. Some range from as low as $0.79, to as high a $5. (!!!)

    Another thing I don't like, is that it could stay connected via Bluetooth to my One M8 much better than on my Galaxy S8. For example, when I come home, I usually get the mail. I usually walk about 20 feet from my car to the mailbox. It would stay connected to the M8, but once I get about 12 feet away from the S8, it disconnects. I find this to be a little annoying sine I would imagine a Samsung watch connected to a Samsung phone would maintain a rock-solid connection better than a competitors phone. 

    But I digress...

    In conclusion, this is a watch that I paid $322 for from Amazon + $8 for screen protectors, and $15 for a Milanese band. I always liked to have a watch, but I never saw one that I loved. The Samsung Gear S3 combines a luxury watch, with top-notch technology. As someone who appreciates technology, I love it. If you are in the market for a smartwatch, I cannot recommend this enough.

  16. I dont know why i post this, but im lost and need to talk something out. I could write it in the Life Advice Topic but im pretty sure they wouldnt be a solution to my problem, so i keep it as a Blog Update.

    My current Living Situation gets worse.

    At first i wrote an Update about being angry at my sisters Dog, but i never actually mentioned the whole story.

    Its not just that the Dog annoys me, im heavily allergic to the Dog. The Doctor even said i could get Asthma after a while and should really move out. My current Health Problems regarding the Allergy are : A skin rash ( i think its spelled ) on my face, which swells and then burst open and bleeds, my Pillow has small blood marks as well as some of my cloathing, because it almost always bleeds, a skin rash on my legs, with red and purple marks that itch and hurt, a constant running nose, coughing and last but not least, infections behind and in my ears, that hurt.

    And since i have ear problems already and have to let them get cleaned by a doctor at east once a year, now i have pain every single time, either that or i dont go to the doctor and dont hear much at all, since my ears get closed.

    So...yeah, we have the Dog for almost over 10 Years now, that means 10 Years of suffering so far and it doesnt come to an end, it just gets worse. Talking to my Family doesnt work, they dont want to give the dog away and that gets me even more stress, because of the constant discussions about it.

    My Health gets worse and my sanity also decreased. I get Rage outs and anger attacks, burst out crying or get suicide thoughts.

    Well, at least that was the beginning. Currently im so depressed, angry and stressed out, that i even thought about killing the dog or my sister. ( i will never do that of course, its just very horrible thoughts )

    I need serious help, but nobody wants to help me. Im in emotional and literal pain.

    I just dont know what to do anymore, my life feels like a joke, like i dont belong here and i just want to leave, but i cant.

    First the mobbing in my childhood years and the beating up ( which let to early suicide thoughts ), then my teenager years with bullying and first allergy problems and now its still going.

    I just want to die. I cant get a job, i cant get help, i cant do anything, i dont even have any nearby friends who could help me, nor family members who have space for me.

    Im afraid i might do something i will regret and might end up in jail, i dont know what to do.

    Well, if i dont come online anymore, there are two Options for that: Either i comitted suicide or killed someone ( i was very angry as i was written this, of course i wouldnt kill anyone. ) and i would go to jail. ( but im pretty sure i wouldnt kill anyone and mostly just beat someone in my family up, but that would me get to prison as well, IN WHICH I WOULD STILL LIVE MORE HEALTHIER THAN I DO NOW!

    Dont know what this will bring, but i have no one to talk to and the person who owns the dog, even threatend to sue me, after i made everything public about the situation.

    Isnt life wonderful? Oh yeah, also, apparently, if i would manage to actually get a job education, i still wouldnt have enough money for my first year to move out, leading to work stress and life stress at the same time. Great Conditions, for showing motivation and a positive aura for a Job.

    EDIT : I also forgot to mention, that i also have stomach problems, probably because of the constant changes in emotions, which lets to chest pain, and me having to go the toilette very often and because i have to drive for over an hour to go to work, the drive itself is a nightmare.

    Also also, do to my emotional problems, i had to stop drawing and probably will never have a relationship what so ever in the next...i dont know, 2-3 Years or even longer.

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    gamecubeguy214
    Latest Entry

    This site has so many wonderful people and I love visiting this place and making posts in the Forum Games and other places. However, I don't feel like I have as much room to go on the forums anymore. I am an active Geometry Dash player and beating levels at the difficulty I am playing them at requires Geometry Dash being a top priority. On weekends, I play a Smash tournament at 2:00 PM, and I also have school as well. My games are really what's causing me to be inactive.

    Necropolis, the level I am playing currently, is a borderline extreme demon for its timings. The hardest timing is a four spike jump. If I beat the level before summer, I will play some Smash and I promise to be more active on the forums until summer happens. When summer starts, my friend and I will grind as hard as we can on Cataclysm. I will be playing Old Cataclysm on my tablet while he plays New Cataclysm on his 144hz monitor that he will have by then. I will try to remember to keep the people on this forum who care about my Geometry Dash progress by blogging about my new achievements.

    TL;DR, I am busy playing Geometry Dash and Smash 4 but from now on I will try and blog about my new achievements as a form of forum activity.

  17. The episode starts off nicely, with Starlight and "The Side Four" so to speak, being rewarded with medals of valor. However, Discord, the sneaky little $@#%?!, makes Twilight feel insecure about her teachings to Starlight Shimmer, driving Twilight to the point of asking for advice from Princess Celestia. Usually Celestia is the best possible pony to have in a time like that, but she (accidentally on purpose) makes Twilight think that she needs to graduate Starlight and send her off, just as Celestia had with Twilight. Twilight ends up announcing that Starlight had graduated, but they both agree that they're not ready to separate yet. Amid good puns, emotional teaching, and an overreacting purple alicorn, the episode is an important installment and a great way to kick off the new season of MLP:FiM. 

    There are three main points of the episode analysis, which I will break down. 

     

    1. Twilight was already worried about her teachings.

    As we see in the beginning, Discord plays some mind games with Twilight and eventually makes her insecure about the roster of friendship lessons she has prepared for Starlight. As much as we would love to blame Discord for her (supposedly unfounded) fears, the real reason is buried under there: Herself. Twilight Sparkle is too strong of a pony to be shaken by Discord’s petty tricks. In her heart, she believes that her lessons will only be good material for another few moons, and then Starlight will be ready for more. 

     

    2. Celestia is trying to teach a major lesson here, people!


    This very well could also be one of Princess Celestia’s cryptic lessons. For instance, she emphasizes how it is Twilight’s decision whether to send Starlight away. That in itself is evidence somewhat that Twilight is being taught a valuable lesson about teaching! As per frickin usual, Celestia is doing it in what's practically code. Celestia is trying to make Twilight a better teacher so that she can make better choices about Starlight Shimmer. 


    3. Starlight is also worried. 

    This should be rather obvious as a bright unicorn such as Starlight Glimmer would be expected to be thinking ahead of even her teacher. Starlight knows that little friendship lessons can only be actually useful for another maybe year, at a stretch. She also knows that Twilight was sent away, and she doesn't want that just yet. She is hoping instead that Twilight had prepared more advanced lessons that would further educate her in the subject of “The Magic of Friendship” and help her learn more life skills. 

  18. I've been a fan of the Alien sci-fi horror franchise for five years now, and in that time, I've spent a lot of hours watching the movies and playing the games. With the newest addition to the franchise, Alien: Covenant, due in U.S. theaters this Friday, I thought it'd be neat to have a special commentary on the Alien series this week, with one entry per day leading up to my personal review of Covenant. (I'll be seeing Covenant on Thursday night, so expect a review no later than Friday evening).

    This week, I'll talk about 1979’s original film Alien, the prequel film Prometheus, the video game Alien: Isolation, and top it off with a review of Alien: Covenant. It should be a fun week! Now, before we begin, allow me to tell you my story of how I became fascinated with Alien...

    I had never seen the Alien movies until 2012. I had heard of them, sure, but never dared to watch them. I vividly remember the day I was properly introduced to the series. I was at a matinee showing of The Avengers, and during the previews, a trailer for Prometheus was shown. I was instantly intrigued. Its dark tone mixed with the incredibly unsettling siren from the original film’s trailer captured my attention unlike any preview had ever done before. After leaving the theater that day, I actually found myself talking more about Prometheus than The Avengers. I was hooked.

    Soon afterward, I came across the clever marketing for Prometheus: the websites projectprometheus.com and weylandindustries.com, made up to look just like an official Weyland Corp. website. In these websites, you could “become an employee” of Weyland Corp. and be tested through a series of games to see if you had what it took to be a part of their upcoming Prometheus expedition. There was roughly a month to go before the U.S. release of Prometheus, and so I spent that time becoming a faithful employee of Weyland Corp. and catching up on the movies. I wound up being a combustibles specialist for the Prometheus expedition, by the way. 

    I was in awe while watching the first Alien film. Its tone and atmosphere was (and still is) unparalleled. I forced myself to watch the chestburster sequence and, like many before me, found it to be a horrifyingly tense scene. Heck, the whole movie is horrifyingly tense. Ridley Scott knows how make a film, that's for absolute certain.

    On June 8, 2012, my view on movies changed forever as I witnessed Prometheus for the first time. I was blown away by it. The visuals, cinematography, and music were all most engaging. I forced myself to watch every moment, even the disturbing med-pod sequence. I went back to the theater to see it three, four (maybe even five) more times after that. And with this film, my devotion to the Alien franchise was born.

    That's my Alien story. If any of you are fans of Alien, I'd love to hear your story! Feel free to post away in the comment section, and be on the lookout for my thoughts on Alien, Prometheus, Alien: Isolation, and Alien: Covenant throughout the week!

    Thanks for reading, and keep those motion trackers handy.