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  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

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    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...

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    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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  4. 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
  5. I've finished my latest review right now.

    I know, I know I'm a little bit late, but, please enjoy it anyway.
    Feel free to comment, subscribe or recommend.

     

  6. 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:

     

    5ce6e95b5674941c86ca6a52f46ea03b.jpg

    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-Bus.jpg

    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+Philly.JPG?ak=bc

    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.

     

    05.31.112news-thompson-eastern-bus-edit-

    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 

     

     

     

     

  7. 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

  8. 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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    Recent Entries

    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.

  9. Before I get into this I just want too say this episode is sort of hard for me too review. It isn't really a bad episode, at the same time it is clearly just set up for the next episode. And because of that the new charcter introduced doesn't leave much of an impact.

    So we start off with Hanazuki and SleepyU going too the forest of trees that Kioshi(probaly not how you spell his name). Which I think is pretty interesting. This moon flower has been depressed for so long that he can only create black trees. Which I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure black is supposed too represent despair. 

    Kioshi would have too be my one criticms of this episode. He's introduced, he imediatley tells Hanazuki too leave him alone. Then he shows up later too save the day! For litterally no reason. I understand that these episodes are only elven minures, and even then it is only intended as a web series. Still this was really rushed. 

    I guess I can also complain slightly about Twisted Unicorn. I didn't really get the impression that he was pure evil. I assumed he was closer too being like Megatron. Someone who cares about his people but who is misguided in their aproach. Nope. He does the old "oh I will pretend too agree with the main charcter then turn around and zap them with a laser". The whole fight between him and Sleepy and the smaller unicorns felt tottaly rushed.

    It is interesting too know that not all moon flowers are female. They made a joke about it last episode. Not entirley relevant but I still think it's interesting because usually mythical beings like this are all female, or the show doesn't care too show otherwise.

    I also just love some of the lines Hanazuki has. A lot of it just comes from how she says them. And yeah I'm streching now. Kioshi didn't leave an impact. He came out of nowehre and decided too join Hanazuki for no real reason. Hanazuki did say she could show him how too make other treasure trees. But this guy has been depressed for years. Would he really just change his mind at the word of a moonflower he's nevr met before? Sleepy unicorn didn't even have apart of convincing him.

    Anyways I will try and write a better review next Friday. I might also go back and review past episodes if I have time. Regardless I hope you enjoyed reading this if you bothered too read it.


  10. Seems I need a second opinion myself, for this look at Forever Filly. (APOLOGIES FOR THE TERRIBLE AUDIO QUALITY. I'll be sure to learn my lesson for next time.)  

     

  11. What did I episode of this think when aired it first?

     

    On 3/26/2014 at 0:24 PM, PrymeStriker said:

    finally got around to watching this episode last night. And I thought it was really good. (...) Just an all-around brilliant episode. 

     

    Really now? Hmmmmmm.....those are some big shoes to fill. Well, let's see how time can fuck things up. This is "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils".

     

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    This episode opens up with Sweetie Belle waiting on Rarity to overview the costumes she made for her school play. However, Rarity is far too busy trying to perfect the dresses for one of Sapphire Shores' orders...'cause...err...remember her from season one? Once she remembers that the opening night for her sister's play is tomorrow, Rarity shits a brick. Speaking of defecating pavement blocks, after the "Skip Intro" button makes me pass a rectangular prism of cement through my bowels and out my rectum, we see that it is indeed premiere night and Rarity is not present with the costumes. Sweetie Belle fears her sister will let her down "again" until she finally shows up...to let her down "again". You see, Sweetie Belle is unimpressed with the modifications Rarity made to Sweetie Belle's dress, but the show must go on as they say in the concentration camps. 

     

    Sweetie_speaking_in_Elizabethan_language

    ......You know what? I agree. Those dresses look like sidewinder vomit.

     

    Alas, all the ponies that attended the school play......which are all adults for some reason...............pedophiles....................................are just flustered over the play and...the superior craftsmanship of the dresses from the pits of Hell. Sweetie Belle, as a result, becomes rather infuriated that her sister upstaged her..."again". You see, Sweetie Bell wrote, directed, and starred in this play, and yet all anyone can talk about is how amazing Rarity's dresses are. Right....so.........do these ponies have dayjobs or was there nothing better to do on a Tuesday or whatever than to watch this school play? I mean, it's just the fucking Cutie Mark Crusaders but half the town showed up, and the last time the CMC dealt with adults was during that whole...Gabby Gums shit. So, where were we? Ah, right, the pedophiles who came to the show didn't care about anything but those sexy dresses the CMC were wearing. Sweetie Belle, being the ARTEESTSTS that she is, gets pissed off her tampon and goes to yell at Rarity for taking all the glory out of her big night, and with so little effort. Sweetie Belle says this is just like her fifth birthday party, with the lapdancing Vietnamese whore and that one guy who sold crack to all of her friends, with her father criticizing her for having two nostrils instead of one like he does, and her sister trying to jam her dick into Little Tommy's naval...........oh, wait, sorry, that was my fifth birthday party.

     

    Sweetie_%22are_you_trying_to_prove_you'r

    "And you didn't even give Little Tommy any cab fare. Slut."

     

    That night, Sweetie Belle finds it hard to sleep believing her sister sabotaged her play on purpose. Therefore, after she takes out a lace in the dresses for Sapphire Shores that practically ruins the structure of them all....she finds it much easier to sleep now. I don't care what anyone says, that's a genuinely funny scenario. All of a sudden, Sweetie Belle starts to have dreams. OooooOOOooh. Dreams about winning a Grammy for her play, until Rarity comes along as a giant storm-cloud here to literally rain on her parade. "Comedy". Not to fear, though, 'cause here comes Princess Luna to save the day....creepin' in on children's dreams again.....yay. That said, I'm genuinely pleased to see Luna, but you know what I just realized? Princess Luna, through seasons three, four, and five, have appeared in one of the CMC's dreams to overcome a real-world problem. For Scootaloo, in the very concluded "Sleepless in Ponyville", Sweetie Belle here, and later Apple Bloom in "Bloom and Gloom". Seeing as I'm not very far into season six right now, I wonder if that was building up to something, or if it was just a little running gag. Anyways, Sweetie Belle realizes she's dreaming, and opens up to the Princess about her big sister problems. This is where Luna talks about how she's able to relate to Sweetie Belle, having an overshadowing big sister of her own, and therefore has struggled with doing the right thing in the past. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH this episode scored major points. Meanwhile, flashback to....the fifth birthday party.

     

    Sweetie_Belle_%22finally_I_was_perfect%2

    "I had type 100 diabetes back then."

     

    Sweetie Belle explains that she had it all planned out: she was going to make a grand entrance as her friends waited for her downstairs. It was going to be perfect! Then, everything changed when the fire nation-I mean, Rarity, stole the spotlight with party favors and cake. One of her "friends" even says out loud, "who needs the party girl when you have the party girl's amazing sister". What....a...BITCH. I say we castrate her and send her into the pits of the damned, forever to blaze in a thousand years of grotesque Korean men gobbing her genitals like Tasmanian hog-monkeys. WHO'S WITH ME?! .............Right, just me and my own middle finger. As usual. Alright, so after this, Princess Luna suggests that maybe there's more to this story than meets the testicle. She time warps back to about 5 minutes earlier where we see her friends bored waiting for her. Then, we learn that Rarity was trying to saves Draft* Sweetie Belle's party by giving the guests party favors and cake. There's a part of me that wants to make a "Rarity's a prostitute, so party favors are party favors" joke, but...wait, nevermind, I just made it. There you go. Sweetie Belle considers that maybe her sister isn't a piece of shit, and to twist the knife around a bit more, Luna suggests that she take a look and see what could happen now that she's sabotaged Rarity's headdresses. Basically, it descends into this super grim imagery where Rarity goes fucking insane to the point of not designing dresses anymore.

     

    Future_Rarity_in_rundown_boutique_S4E19.

    This is your brain on drugs. Any more questions?

     

    After this, Sweetie Belle wakes up in horror, and tries to rectify this situation. Except, it appears that Rarity's already disappeared to Canterlot to show Sapphire Shores the headdresses. So she gathers her friends...for some reason...and it's off to Canterlot to save Rarity's life! A hilarious showtunes joke is made on that train. But who cares, the succeeding scenes involve the CMC swinging across tightrope through a door to stop Rarity from descending into darkness! And wouldn't you know it, they do it! They get in there, steal the box, and fly around the building like a bunch of maniacs, distracting Rarity long enough for Sweetie Belle and Luna to fix the stitching of the headdress. After Sweetie Belle explains the whole situation to Rarity, because...you know...of course...they bring the headdress to Sapphire Shores together. And wouldn't you know it, she loves it! Cue sisterly blah. 

     

    Rarity_and_Sweetie_Belle_hugging_S4E19.p

    .....................Blah.

     

    So concludes "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils".

     

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Um....yeah, this episode is pretty much fucking awesome.

     

    First of all, the plot is actually a good one on its own. Little sister feeling overshadowed by her big sister and what not. This for Sweetie Belle and Rarity actually turns out some great dynamic, so that's a passing grade right there. Now, that plot could've just worked out well on its own, but they added Princess Luna to the mix. This made things infinitely more interesting, because given Princess Luna's backstory and trials across the first two seasons, we know that she has a long history of trying to live out of her sister's shadow. The fact that she as a character in and of herself was able to overcome this, and that she's able to apply that here and actually help develop Sweetie Belle, is bringing it all full circle. That's a beautiful thing and a damn good piece of overarching storytelling, but catch this. They also added dream elements to this, 'cause Princess Luna's here. And, way much more so than "Sleepless in Ponyville", do we see how far the dream montages can go. It's not full-throttle pink elephant drug trip stuff, but there's some pretty heavy imagery going on here. For instance, when Princess Luna stomps her hoof and she and Sweetie Belle stand motionless while the sound effects and animation make you feel like you're hurdling through time at the speed of light, or the "Rarity's Mental Breakdown" montage. All are some excellent visuals and some pretty heavy imagery juxtaposed to Sweetie Belle's psyche during the episode. It's really quite gripping. Sprinkle in some great comedy with a good moral, and you have the makings for one of the heights of season four. I haven't felt so enthused of an MLP episode in a long ass time, and "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" brought it all back home. As a simply divine episode, I'm giving this story a solid 10/10.

     

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Why are Europeans not classified as bacteria? 

  12. 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.

  13. *sigh*

    Man, oh, man, Hard to Say Anything is unadulterated shit. A failure of epic proportions not seen since PPOV.

    Where. Do. I. Even. Start?

    Anyone can write a good episode. Becky Wangberg is so exception. One big problem with bringing in new writers is sometimes they don't get the characters, the worldbuilding, and theme molding. Hamilton knew what he was doing and clearly researched the series. Wangberg didn't do enough, and it showed.

    You can actually count the number of times the CMCs have been out of character at any point in the series. If you take the comics into account, the Holiday Special is their worst. Is the characterization that bad here? Thankfully, no. But is their worst in the show in a long time? One hundred percent. The CMCs were absolutely clueless in not only what they're doing, but also how they're doing. When they realize Big Mac on a crush on Sugar Belle, they all believed it was literally a good idea to follow the classic fairytale tropes and outcomes. They're fairy tales for a reason, yet they treat the novels like a how-to instruction book. Naïve they can be, but they're not stupid. How they're unable to separate fiction from reality's beyond me.

    More mind-boggling is how every time they screw up, they perform an even dumber idea, which worsens the matter worse and pisses off Sugar Belle even more. They may always have the best strategies (or the best common sense), but they're all smart and clever in their own way. There's also a great sense of maturity beyond their years. Lost Mark, anypony? Well, this maturity is missing. This isn't the CMCs. This is a generic group of caricatures in disguise. I don't know which performance is worse, this or The Show Stoppers. More about them later.

    To hear Big Mac actually speak way more beyond the clichéd "Eeyup" and "Nope" is a long-awaited surprise. That doesn't mean he's still in character! Big Mac may be only a stallion of a few words, but he's still very intelligent, caring, and observant with some dignity. Why the hell would he subscribe to the CMCs' stupid plan on copying the fairy tale clichés to woo Sugar Belle over Stereo Pop? My mind boggles that he'd think at any point that it was a good idea to follow that book o' fiction. Hell, at least once, he questioned their ideas, but gave in. You can have a crush and still retain some common sense.

    The Cutie Mark Crusaders tell Big Mac to go back to her and ask was their best idea prior to the end by a long shot. They still could've done the same after Feather Bangs barged in and suddenly became the episode's antagonist. More on him later.

    But after all the shenanigans, Apple Bloom finally realized…

    Quote

    Apple Bloom: We should've been thinkin' about what would mean a lot to Sugar Belle!

    On 5/13/2017 at 9:09 PM, Dark Qiviut said:

    Well, why didn't you think about this in the first place?!!

    Why is this such a big problem?

    1. This is something that any of them should've figured out a long time ago, especially Big Mac. He's smart enough to know that Sugar Belle might've wanted or needed something that could be beneficial. Rather than immediately going to the storybook, they should ask Big Mac why he had a crush on her and what would be something most beneficial to her (and, by extension, everyone else in the town). This should've been the case for Apple Bloom, who knows him better than the others.
    2. Why didn't this come to her mind in the first place? Because if any of the CMCs didn't go to their stupid scheme, this whole plot would've been resolved by the 11-minute mark, and we'd have to have another one to fill the rest of the time frame. The one line makes all four look even dumber than they were during Act 2.

    Now, to talk about the elephant in the room:

    1435496__safe_screencap_big+macintosh_su

    Rather than re-write it, let my initial reaction tell the story:

    On 5/13/2017 at 5:05 PM, Dark Qiviut said:

    So, Big Mac follows the CMCs' stupid advice and try to plant a kiss on Sugar Belle, who's happily napping in a hammock.

    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME????!!!!!

    What the absolute hell is DHX trying to say with this stupid joke? That forcefully kissing a girl in the middle of nowhere is funny? The CMCs are convincing Mac to sexually harass another pony, and Big Mac's going forward with it! With the news and awareness of sexual violence going on at the time this was written and developed, how the hell can Hasbro's censors not pick this up?

    Sure, Looney Tunes was able to use this joke. I heard the very same from a lot of people when Brotherhooves Social aired. That comparison doesn't fly anymore. We live in an era with a whole more activism. Trans* rights' activism is at an all-time high now, and we just had Women's Marches. Times have changed. When there's a different political climate, unfortunate implications open up. They may not intentionally harm anyone, but that doesn't make it okay.

    Unfortunately, DHX gets tone-deaf too often for its own good, and all the unfortunate implications over the years really proves this. The jokes from Brotherhooves Social contain transphobic/transmisogynist implications, because Big Mac in drag (the "Man in a Dress" trope) is literally the joke, and they force in clichéd jokes (including a gross-out reveal of his Adam's apple) to really hammer in how bad his disguise is. This vile joke here carries some of the biggest unfortunate implications in the series, because it's sexual harassment.

    I haven't even counted the other reasons why this joke fails on such an epic-fail level, which includes Sugar Belle's fright and Big Mac's disgusting kissy face.

    Now to go over the last sentence in full:

    1. Big Mac's big kissyface is a pure grossout shot. The audience is supposed to laugh at how big, long, and plump Big Mac's forced kissy face looks. What makes it even more disgusting is the closeup of his lips and how Sugar Belle looked at from the corner of her sleepy eye. Seeing swollen, close-up lips protruding from straight on is disgusting, not funny.
    2. Sugar Belle's expression is the cornerstone of why the sexual harassment implications exist. She's completely unaware of not only his advances, but his presence, as well. There's no inclination of her realizing he's there nor wants him there. She just wants some peace and quiet.

      Compare that shot to this panel from FIM #25 (The Good, Part 1/2):
      768049__safe_applejack_rarity_twilight+s

      In the old forums, IDW editor Bobby Curnow admitted that T3's supposed to be a Western parody. Rarity's and Twilight's expression don't suggest parody, but assault. Longhorn's terrorism isn't played for laughs at any point. How is the audience supposed to not take it seriously? A possible way to make this a parody is to treat it as one, like Tumbleweed and the crew immediately playing mindgames with Longhorn in a Bugs Bunny-Yosemite Sam kind of way. If Tumblweed's flicked to a poll, he jumps off the poll (with some cartoon physics, like warping the wood like a spring) and kicks his ass.

      If Sugar Belle showed any awareness of Big Mac's advances and presence, then the parody could work. Something like pretending to sleep, teasing Big Mac with a joke-y line like "Pass me the sunscreen" or "I know you're there, Mack-y" would help shape the parody together better? Why? Because it suggests consensuality among both side, fixing the implications in the process.

    For those who suggest either the implication doesn't exist exist or it's okay because the humor was at Big Mac's expense:

    1. Watch the scene in full. Pay attention to how Big Mac behaves and how Sugar Belle reacts. All of this helps shape up the implications.
    2. Big Mac being the butt of the joke doesn't make the implications disappear.

    To tell me otherwise suggests that I should turn off my brain. Two words: never happening.

    While Hard sucks, it had a decent start. But when Stereo Pop (screw "Feather Bangs"! The other name applies better) appears, the plot sinks.

    And Stereo Pop himself is nothing but an episodic accident.

    1. As a character, what character? As a personality, he has as much dimension as Flash Sentry: almost none. There's nothing engaging or charismatic about his character. Each line he spews is flat and stilted. Nothing he says represents anything a realistic person would say.
    2. Outside from being a contrived antagonist (more on this below), his whole purpose is to be a 100% parody of Bieber…back in his early days as a singer. His haircut, suave behavior, and song all scream early-days Bieber more specifically and stereotypical interpretations of boy bands back in the 1990s and 2000s.

      And the jokes surrounding him suck. Why? Because this whole thing is surrounded by dated pop culture references. There's no effort being put into this joke, and every skit related to him (from the voice to hair swaying to the autotune in his song) is one-dimensional.

      Not even his intentionally phallic cutie mark (there's a reason why his tail covers most of it most of the time) is funny. It's just "it's an erect penis mark. Laugh." Jokes don't work that way.

      Pop culture jokes in themselves are really, really difficult to get right. Why? Because what could be cool and funny today could become tacky tomorrow. There's no one right way to make a good pop culture joke, but the better techniques that I've seen are to make sure the core of the joke isn't the pop culture reference, written with enough effort to make it timeless, or keep it really subtle to the point of the audience not having to get the reference at all to make it work. This joke fails.
    3. Clearly he's written to be an antagonist, yet they never properly build him up to be an antagonist. I don't know what went on behind the scenes, but it feels like the writers were reminded that a conflict's needed, and they plug him in very suddenly to fill this in. We never heard of him at any point in the show, and you can educationally guess that he won't appear again.

      The ending where he admits to be nervous around others…that was the best part of the whole episode. Why? Because it gives him some character. Unfortunately, it's too little, too late. As a whole, Stereo Pop contributes nothing but the nosedive of its quality and can be written out entirely.

    On top of that, this whole episode directly contradicts the continuity of the show. In Hearts & Hooves Day (which this episode directly references), the CMCs stated that it was bad for them to force romance between two ponies. They're doing the very same thing here, only without the love poison and with Big Mac as the vessel. DHX's blatant disregard ruins the moral's weight.

    Lastly, one important question. How long did Big Mac's have crush on Sugar Belle? When did it begin? The episode hints that it began that week, but you only truly get to see the part where Mac's crush developed. What would help really improve this episode is if we get to see Big Mac's crush develop from beginning to end.

    Another problem is other than the bedroom eyes in Act 1, Sugar Belle never reciprocates it until the end. When you have the mutual admission happen this quick, the pacing feels rushed, and the weight of the crush falls flat.

    As a whole, the episode is a mess and clearly the first bad episode of the season.


    This whole episode would've worked much better if it was completely retooled. Here's an idea of mine below:

    1. After Applejack can't make her apple delivery due to being under the weather, Big Mac takes over her job by bringing the shipment of apples to Sugar Belle's home, where they meet for the first time.
    2. He and Sugar Belle exchange acquaintances and pleasantries, and Big Mac wonders what's going on with him. He wonders what feels funny.

      Sugar Belle begins to feel the same.
    3. Over the rest of the week, as Applejack recovers from her cold, Apple Bloom feels suspicious about Big Mac's continuous adventures to Starlight's old village. They know something's funny with Big Mac and try to figure out what.

      The other ponies from Our Town notice the same with Sugar Belle, as she's been jotting recipes for killer apple treats, something she hadn't done before.

      But they both keep it a secret.
    4. One day, Starlight decides decides to make a visit to her old village, where she's shocked that apples are stored and organized outside Sugar Belle's home.

      Suspicious, she knocks on her door, and she answers. Soon, they rib each other. Not long after, she discovers interesting recipe titles, all related to the McIntosh apple that's grown so much in the SAA orchard. Starlight eavesdropping the titles upset Sugar Belle, and she reveals to having a crush on Big Mac. She asks Starlight not to tell anypony about it, which she promises.

      Back in Ponyville, Apple Bloom prodded Big Mac after noticing a behavior change, and he reveals to her about his crush on Sugar Belle. She promises not to tell anypony, either.
    5. Silence for the next couple of days, but Starlight spent a portion of the second day continuing to be re-acquainted with the village and had a little gossip talk with Sugar Belle as they co-planned a recipe. She asked Sugar what she liked about Mac, and she explained about his wonderful personality, including the ability to care and help. When Starlight asked what would mean a lot to him, she isn't sure. Starlight explains a bit of his family, and what they do to transport items. Here, Sugar Belle recalls how  some wagons were falling apart and getting beaten up and has an idea of giving him (and the rest of the family) new ones. Fortunately, Starlight knew of a neighborhood carpentry, and they agreed to go there tomorrow. Starlight decided it was time to leave, but Sugar Belle invited her to stay for the night.

      That evening, Big Mac's hard at work designing a brand-new display shelf and counter for Sugar Belle. The structure would have three tiers to place her baked goods and an icebox underneath to store refrigerated fruits, vegetables, and other perishables. Apple Bloom watches from the doorway.
    6. Next day, both of them visit a carpentry near Town Hall, and came up with a brand-new wagon design for Big Mac. The wood was smooth, nailed, and polished. Sugar and Starlight painted his wagon with yellow on the wheels, green on the side, red bed, and orange straps. It was also sturdier, squeak-free, and easier to pull. Just in case, there's an attachment for extra goods. The other orders will be coming the next day.

      Big Mac and Apple depart SAA for Sugar Belle's house and encounter many troubles, from treacherous roads to collapsed trees to his wagon ready to fall apart on the next stop or bump.

      Starlight and Sugar Belle arrive at SAA, but AJ reveals he and Apple Bloom weren't home. He and Apple Bloom left. They knew where he was going and followed his tracks. They journeys several miles till they approached near the arid village.
    7. CRASH!!

      About 300 yards away, they see Big Mac and Apple Bloom standing in the middle of the road, their wagon destroyed, and both of them trying to keep everything in the same pile.

      Sugar Belle helps clean up the mess and puts their supplies on the bed of the new wagon, which she gave to him. It was a gift since he needed it.
    8. Big Mac thanked her and revealed that he was headed to her house to help renovate her pie shelves. She hugs him and thanks him with a kiss on the cheek.

      At the village, all four construct her new shelf and icebox. She really appreciates what he did and thanks him. And with a small nudge from Starlight, she reveals she has a crush on him and asks if they can go on a date. Blushing, he accepts, and they share a nose nuzzle.

      To conclude, AB and Starlight walk away with them both splitting the lesson.
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  14. Why does this episode make think of John Lithgow and Sylvester Stallone? Huh Anyway, the penultimate episode of Samurai Jack is upon us! Let’s see how the lovebirds are doing...

     

    What Happens

    Following on from the last episode, Jack and Ashi are kissing. However, the romance is dampened by the fact that they still have slug juice in their mouths, causing them to separate and spit the taste out. Reassuring each other that it isn’t a reflection on the kiss itself, they decide to get clean. While Ashi, still wrapped in Jack’s gi, goes to find some suitable clothes, Jack heads outside the ship and luckily finds a broken pipe to use as a shower. Ashi, now clad in a green one-piece dress, appreciates the view of Jack nekkid, but leaves his now-clean gi where he can find it.

    The two both manage to find some bugs in the desert to cook for dinner that night, despite being chewy and rather unappetizing. Jack reminisces on the beauty of the valley where he grew up, before Aku returned, and mentions that he thinks that he will only ever have the memory, which saddens Ashi.

    We switch back over to Scaramouch’s journey and Scarry has coopted an octopus to serve as his body. He finally finds Aku’s spire, and despite an automated recording from Aku that he is not currently receiving visitors, proceeds inside. He convinces Aku to talk to him and tells him about the issing-May ord-Sway of ack-Jay. Aku is pleased to hear this, and restores Scaramouch’s body as reward for bringing the good-bad news. They dance.

    591c4107b5171_2017-05-15(2).thumb.png.62b98f6efb05be744f21626e3b3f1607.png
    Do the Robot!

    In the morning, Ashi wakes to find that Jack has left her behind in secret and follows his trail again. (Note the separate beds… I guess a kiss is as far as they went… pity) Jack walks through the desert, and finds himself in a familiar place… the wreckage of giant robots all around. As he clambers over them, he comes to a destroyed time portal and sees some familiar red sun-glasses broken on the ground. It seems the Guardian and his time portal are no more. (Ah, man. I had hoped to see him again. I guess prophecy is not infallible…)

    Ashi arrives and soon, so do Aku and Scaramouch. Aku does his usual “fooooolish Samurai!” bit, until Jack unsheathes his sword. Scaramouch barely manages to protest before Aku blows him up… this time for good. (He just got… Scarasmooshed… B) YEEAAHHH!)

    Jack tries to attack Aku, but the Shogun of Sorrow avoids him easily, despite being distracted by something that smells like him, but isn’t. Aku then turns to Ashi… As it turns out, Aku did once visit the Cult of the Daughters, and even contributed some of his evil (from his hands, I might hasten to clarify) for the High Priestess to drink, thus impregnating her with Ashi and her sisters. (So the name “the Daughters of Aku” turned out to be literal. I must confess, I didn’t see that one coming…)

    Ashi is unable to control her body, attacking Jack with a purloined sword. After they trade a few blows, Aku fully releases the evil within Ashi, turning her into a black-clad clone of himself, with GREAT FLAMING EYEBROWS! The fight resumes, Akushii being much stronger and faster now. Jack still manages to graze her with the sword, releasing the good part of Ashi long enough to beg Jack to kill her before she is again subsumed.

    However, Jack cannot bring himself to do it, and drops his sword. A triumphant Aku holds it up as Jack collapses before Akushii and… WATCH OUT!

    591c40f494449_2017-04-13(5).thumb.png.61383f31a4835c18edcd26dcc1c231a1.png

    Thoughts on the Episode

    You see, Friendship is Magic: that is how you do a cliffhanger! I always disliked the habit of two-parters in FiM being aired together… it leaves no time for tension to build. And for now, that is where I will leave it. Comments welcomed, and look forward to a bumper review when this whole shebang is all wrapped up. Stay sunny side up!

  15. 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. 

  16. 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.

  17. I feel like doing a damn essay.  What I Learned from Wisdom Teeth are... that they fucking suck!

    Oh my god!  Remember how shortly after I joined, I said that I would likely just go back into lurking mode?  I know I haven't really been around long enough for anyone to miss me or notice that I was gone (more than likely) but I didn't mean to drop off the radar for almost two weeks. 

    I also didn't know that your wisdom teeth, which hadn't given you a problem for years, could suddenly just go batshit crazy and make you want to take a drill to your mouth. 

    temporomandibular joints Go to the ER, refferred to an oral surgeon who is out of town.  The guy tells me I have something called temporomandibular joint disorder in addition to just having a small mouth cavity in general.  Surgery was required.  I was put so far under.  It was insane.  The room they had me in was painted in a sky scene.  The walls were blue but I don't know if the person who painted it did it on purpose or not, I assume so, but there were very subtle shades of blue.  Some areas looked darker, some looked lighter, some looked layered.  They did the same with the clouds.  There was also a red and yellow hot air balloon painted towards the bottom corner of the wall I was facing.  They gave me some gas first.  The gas alone was what made me notice the shades of blue.  Then the "sky" started to look like it was moving.  Then the IV drip came... they told me to count backwards slowly from 10 to 1.  I got to 7 before I got engrossed by the hot air balloon that was now floating.  It seemed like I was staring at it minutes on end but the surgeon said I did count down to 5.

    My jaw had to be dislocated.  I had to have all my wisdom teeth removed and my last molar on each side.  Cavities and night grinding.  The pain pills they gave me had me knocked out for pretty much an entire week.  This week, I'm still on one of them, not on two different ones so this week has been a little better than the last.  I'm starting to get used to them at least and I can actually form some decent thoughts and keep them on some semblance of a coherent track.

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    Recent Entries

    hey guys, so, I recorded a little thing and wanted to know what you all think ^^ don't be afraid to give some critique, as long as it's constuctive and all, I know I still can improve a lot but I'm quite please with how it sounds ^^ I was thinking of maybe starting a youtube channel at some point in the future, still unsure. but yea, I just wanted to share this with you all! :squee: 

    here's my cover of 'lie' by 'circus P'

    http://vocaroo.com/i/s1gxjZ9zwcMi

  18. Jeric
    Latest Entry

     

     

    I have no other words of wisdom or inspiration to share beyond that video save for this: I understand what it is to have a challenging relationship with a mother, and I know what it is to see a mother who deeply loves her children. If you are so inclined to do so, try and remember your mother today, or those who have filled that role in your life. Also, I am reminded of this older comic by Silver Quill. 

     

    mother_less_day_by_mlp_silver_quill-d651

    Happy Mother's Day to all Mom's out there. 

  19. Okay, personally, I love this one, especially since both Scarlet Witch and Starlight started out bad and are both good now! Plus I think she looks amazing in this outfit! Tell me what you think plz!

    Scarlet Witch.jpg