Friday, June 22, 2012

My Top 6 G1 MLP Characters

Well, looks like I may be presenting a 'G1 is more Hardcore than G4' panel at Trotcon so to celebrate:

My Personal Top 6 G1 MLP Characters:

1. Wind Whistler - I've harped on her before but this pegasus mare is awesome. She's an extremely intelligent and often downright cunning pony who often jumps up to be the leader in a crisis. She does have some issues with being wordy / technobable and favors logic over emotions to the point that she's extremely stoic. I just find her awesome as she just doesn't fit with the rest of the ponies at all and would probably be more at home in Star Trek. Given what happened in 'Crunch the Rockdog' where she sacrificed Truly to get a chance of hitting the Rockdog with the heartstone to save everypony else she'd pass that 'Bridge Officer's Test' quite easily.

Closest G4 Equivalent: Twilight Sparkle - if she was mixed with Mr. Spock.

2. Fizzy - This Pony. This pony single hoofedly broke my brain. She's a happy-go-lucky, klutzy, scatterbrained unicorn mare who has the power of creating and controlling bubbles and who has the occasional moments of awesome (like drawing off the fire from the demon trees in the Shadow Forest so that everypony else could escape). She is also the most prominent of the few 'Twinkle-Eyed Ponies' who have gems for eyes. She's pretty much the Derpy/Ditzy Doo of G1.

Then I found out the official canon back story of the 'Twinkle-Eyed Ponies':  Turns out Fizzy spent a good bit of her life as an horribly mistreated slave forced to work in a hazardous mine by the 'Jewel Wizard'. She lost her sight but when she was rescued by Applejack (who killed the Jewel Wizard and destroyed his gem throne). Some of the magical gem shrapnel from the exploding jewel throne embedded itself in her corneas and thanks to the gems she regained her sight. Dear feaking gods. It would be like finding out G4 Derpy/Ditzy's official back story is that she was horrible mistreated by an abusive alcoholic father and her eyes are that way because she was once nearly beaten to death before Applejack saved her by killing her father. Yeah. Anyway, I now have immense levels of respect for Fizzy.

Since the original page hosting the comic got overloaded:

Applejack's Amazing Adventure - 1
Applejack's Amazing Adventure - 2
Applejack's Amazing Adventure - 3 
Applejack's Amazing Adventure - 4

Closest G4 Equivalent: Derpy/Ditzy Doo

3. Gusty -  Ah G1's Action Mare. Gusty is an impatient brave headstrong white colored unicorn mare with a red striped mane who is always rushing headlong into a fight and usually getting her flank handed to her as a result. She also isn't a smart pony and she has a bad habit of whining, being the occasional grouch, and dropping wisecracks. But she'll be a whiny grouchy and an ass one moment then in the next moment the kindest, bravest, and most noble pony in the show. Hrmmm... This all sounds familiar... One big problem with her is that her voice (done by Nancy Cartwright) sounds rather close to Bart Simpson's voice so its kinda jarring.

Closest G4 Equivalent: I'm going to cheat here with a fan work - but it fits so well: Blackjack from FoE: Project Horizons.

4. Paradise - She's a pegasus mare in a magical land who loves legends and fantasy and once asked "Why can't my life be more like a fairy tale?". Then again she lives in Ponyland, which seems to be full of slavers, crazed evil overlords, sealed ancient evils all about the place, and a lot of the G1 MLP stories feature near apocalypses. Yeah, I'd want to escape that place and live in a generic happy fantasy land too. She usually is the storyteller or dropping lore exposition. She also has a glorious epic fail trying to hammer a nail.

Closest G4 Equivalent: Going by her card description of being obsessed by legends and fairy tales: Sugar Grape

4. North Star - An adventurous explorer pegasus mare with a compass and star cutie mark. She had a Big Damn Hero moment in Return of Tambelon by hitting the ancient bell and thus screwing with the source of Grogar & Tambelon's powerful magic while the other ponies distracted Grogar. She also is a mare who cannot resist a big door with a 'Don't Touch' sign on it despite a warning that the door holds back an ancient evil (she's probably not safe around big red buttons ether).

Closest G4 Equivalent: Daring Do.

5. Heart Throb - A romance loving pegasus mare who is all about sharing love and dreams of meeting her Prince Charming... And she pictures him as a human - which is a bit disturbing especially when the fantasy comes to life and starts reciprocating. She's usually more on the funny side since most of the episodes are action & adventures.

Closest G4 Equivalent: Princess Cadance with a bit of Rarity and... Lyra...

Honorable Mention: Masquerade - This twinkle-eyed pegasus mare is master of disguise, infiltration, and general spying. She doesn't show up much (or does she?) but where she does she has rather interesting skill set and used in plans such as posing as Grogar's second-in-command bray from a distance in costume.

Closest G4 Equivalent: Not sure... Maybe Con Mane with a dash of Dash & Pinkie?

Monday, May 21, 2012

I knew there was a white stallion associated with rising the sun somewhere in Indic lore! Finally managed to track him down (despite the fact that he's been more or less staring me in the face for a while now):

It's Hayagriva and his Vedic prototype Dadhikrāvan!

Sridhara Babu - Hayagriva. The Horse-Headed Deity in Indian Culture

One of the several hymns dedicated to the cosmic stallion Dadhikrāvan who ushers in the morning:
Rig Veda Hymn 4:39 Dadhikrās. (Griffith Translation)
1. Now give we praise to Dadhikrās the rapid, and mention in our laud the Earth and Heaven.
May the Dawns flushing move me to exertion, and bear me safely over every trouble.
2 I praise the mighty Steed who fills my spirit, the Stallion Dadhikrāvan rich in bounties,
Whom, swift of foot and shining bright as Agni, ye, Varuṇa and Mitra, gave to Pūrus.
3 Him who hath honoured, when the flame is kindled at break of dawn, the Courser Dadhikrāvan,
Him, of one mind with Varuṇa and Mitra may Aditi make free from all transgression.
4 When we remember mighty Dadhikrāvan our food and strength, then the blest name of Maruts,
Varuṇa, Mitra, we invoke for welfare, and Agni, and the thunder-wielding Indra.
5 Both sides invoke him as they call on Indra when they stir forth and turn to sacrificing.
To us have Varuṇa and Mitra granted the Courser Dadhikrās, a guide for mortals.
6 So have I glorified with praise strong Dadhikrāvan, conquering Steed.
Sweet may he make our mouths; may he prolong the days we have to live.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The stuff I end up spouting off... Victory Star ♦♦♦ made a post about linking ponies with Greek gods... So I ended up writing a wall of text on Pegasus & Rainbow Dash.

If we're going Greek... We have a horse god here.

Pegasus is Chrysaor's brother. It's a weird version of the 'Horse Twins' myth like the Indic Asvins and the (also) Greek Dioscuri (Castor & Pollux). In this variant though instead of two horsemen, one who is mortal and one who is immortal, what resulted from Poseidon and Medusa was a mortal human and his brother... an immortal horse god. Later myths paired him with Perseus and Heracles because flying around on a divine winged horse is the pimpin-est ride yo.

If anyone owns him it's Zeus who made him the bearer of his Thunderbolts and some weather functions (this probably happened due to his link with a Luwian weather god named pihassas who is ether his origin or a deity who was fused with him later in lore and the fact that the rising of his constellation marked the beginning of Spring and the start of the seasonal rainstorms in Greece - Winter Wrap-up! tongue ). His other side is that he is the horse of the muses and there are several springs Hippocrene sacred to Pegasus & the Muses in Greece where he stuck the ground with his hooves and the waters of inspiration burst forth from the ground.

If Pegasus had a pony it would have to be Rainbow Dash - because let's face it she's Pegasus' own Pegasus: Head of the Ponyville Weather Patrol, Inspired the rest of the mane six to get their cutie marks with her bursting Sonic Rainboom, her emphasis on action, her heroics, et cetera.

Also nit-picky but you're thinking Helios whom Apollo was connected with... The appropate deity connections would be:
Helios & Selene (Greek) or Sol & Luna (Roman).

Interesting enough in the story book that came with the molded toys Princess Luna is called Princess Selena.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Luna & Leia

Did I miss anything?
Yesterday: Princess Luna, she's so cute you'll forget she turned into a monster and tried to cloak the world in eternal night during an omnicidal fit of jealousy.

Today: Princess Leia who contrary to reports is no hologram like certain rappers.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy National Princess Week!

Yes it's National Princess Week!

A marketing ploy claiming to celebrate the sparkle and wonder of every princess — real, aspiring, or imagined.

First up since it's Sunday Let's Celebrate Princess Celestia, the Ruler of Equestria! The most magical pony and the only pony with wings and a horn!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Red Roses and White Lilies!

Quick bit:

The the Royal Wedding DJ Game: Red Roses and White Lilies... MLP:FiM why are you so awesome?

If you don't understand:

Robert Schuler (“W. B. Yeats: Artist or Alchemist?” Review of English Studies 22:37ff) interprets this last line as relating to Yeats's interest in sexual magic. Schuler also notes that the lily and rose in alchemical literature symbolize the moon and the sun, the white and red tinctures in the alchemical process. More detail can be found in Gorski's Yeats and Alchemy (State University of New York, 1996).


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lyra is a Bard

This is probably just coincidence but there is a reason I occasionally refer to Lyra as a Bard and it's more than just because she has a Lyre on her flank. I prepared this when doing a presentation on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Indo-European Mythology. Again this is maybe coincidence but it's always stood out to me.

Anyways in Figure 1 we have Lyra Heartstrings. Figure 2 is the Awen symbol, Awen is the Welsh word for inspiration and often poetic or musical inspiration. It was invented by Edward Williams (aka. Iolo Morganwg) and is often used as symbol for gorseddau in Britain and used by such groups as The National Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain and The Cornish Gorsedh as well as Meso-Druidic and Neo-Druidic Groups. The gorseddau are big promoters of traditional literary scholarship, music, and poetry. As seen in Figure 4 they typically wear a shade of blue as a traditional Bardic color (the National Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain having an interesting shade for this discussion). Finally compare the Awen Symbol with Lyra's Cutie Mark (Figure 4) and notice how it very much resembles the three line Awen Symbol put into a Lyre or Harp. It's probably just a coincidence but its always looked like it to me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kony 2012

Kony 2012

Bronies for Good's current project is also focused on this through helping a clinic in Uganda through Operation: Seeds of Kindness.

Pulled up a few links for some info dumping:

START's Page on the LRA
START's Page on Joseph Kony
Congressional Research Service: The Lord's Resistance Army - The U.S. Response (PDF)
FAS Profile of LRA
Wiki: Lord's Resistance Army
International Crisis Group - The Lord's Resistance Army: End Game? (PDF)
Miami Herald: 2 survivors provide intimate look inside Lord's Resistance Army

"The Bible says: 'If you are going to do good, do good all your life. If you are going to do evil, do evil all your life.' "

"I chose evil, and that's what I'm always going to do," said Kony, according to Daba's account.

I have to say though that the prospects for this campaign aren't that good without really ether the US giving more hardware and intelligence tools to the Ugandan government or lots of US troops on the ground. In many respects this is a lot like the the Darfur crisis (in fact the LRA was a belligerent in that conflict supported by Sudanese government and committing atrocities against civilians at the behest of the Sudanese Government) where it's a horrible situation but doesn't effect the US enough to risk American soldier's lives against insurgents in a conflict that could end up deeply bogged down like the conflicts in Iraq & Afghanistan. I support the effort to get the US to help stopping Kony but he's a man with an army and lieutenants. As mentioned the the Miami Herald article he knows it's success or death (due to his War Crimes) so he isn't going to end things peacefully and nether will the others in the LRA power structure.

We really need to support this to get more pressure/attention on the situation and support for the work aiding civilians but the LRA isn't going to go down because of posters, Facebook posts, nor humanitarian aid. Nor is this without entanglements for the US, because while Sudan has officially turned against the LRA it probably still has a number of supporters in their government. In short I suggest supporting this but to have realistic hopes for the campaign.

We have to do better, but we have to also be realistic about it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Derpy Reality Tunnels!

Ok, I need to stop now, I'm writing things like this reflecting on the hatred raised in the Derpy thing and before with the Ditzy Doo Vs. Derpy arguments and a few other things such as current American Society in general:

*In response to someone complaining about how the parents of the current generation were possibly more tolerant and inclusive (which is debatable on some matters)*

They also tended to indulge their children's wishes, and with the communications revolution these grown up children who are used to getting their own way and shaping everything can extend their reach over their own children. Also a major factor is the rise of more and more hard and reinforced reality tunnels by different subcultures in the US breaking off from the mainstream after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War with the calls to a united vision and front becoming less and less important in the loss of a major threat. With the loss of the Soviet Threat there was less resistance to the segmentation of society and the communications revolution of the 1980s & 1990s only accelerated this trend allowing subcultures to break off more and more from the mainstream with their own news, services, and other facilities which are completely controlled by the subcultures and which strictly reinforce and amplify their own reality tunnels. Take a look at right wing Christians and the massive 'alternative' infrastructure they have created with 'Christian Media', 'Christian Businesses' (indexed here in Columbus through the 'Christian Blue Pages' and the little 'Christian Business' signs I keep noticing popping up), and 'Christian' alternatives to almost everything mainstream (the mainstream being greatly scorned).

The great effect of all this is that people are more intolerant to things coming in from outside of their own reality tunnel and the things that poke in are also increasingly drowned out by the drumbeat of the subcultural beliefs. The sheer strength of the greatly reinforced beliefs in their own reality tunnel make the follower view them as kind of a 'Master view' that is inherently correct and should dominate the 'weaker' others and should override their signals by force if necessary. This has resulted in the massive disconnect between bronies and the mainstream audience and the internet wars of words over rather stupid things like this. Each subculture has become their own little Stalins attempting to airbrush everything counter to their views out of the photos of reality.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Some thoughts on Fallout: Equestria & Fallout Equestria Project Horizons

I wrote a huge Wall of Text™ in a forum post about Fallout: Equestria and Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons and I might as well as post it here as it sums up why I like the fics a lot (Warning: some fairly minor spoilers here, original had a few major ones but they have been edited out as there is no hiding of spoilers here) - tl;dr version: Me probably over-analyzing a fanfic like the pretentious jackass I am.

Meh. I'll admit that F:OE could have probably been cut by a lot - but a lot of those extra bits are fun! I do think you may be missing the point of the fic though.

While there is a lot of grimdark, you also see occasional bits of whimsy and good as you go along in the story. Mostly these good bits are seen in a few of the memory orbs showing pre-war Equestria and some bits in the present which show hope for the future. A large part of the story is about how Equestria and the ponies eventually fell little by little (often through good intentions) into a horrible uncaring and hateful society. The other large part is finding the good that is deep down and going on to try and help make things better despite mistakes because giving up to wallow in one's self solves nothing and can in fact make the situation worse. One has to dare to care, so to speak, taking others' feelings into consideration, and doing what is right even if it is unpopular. Fallout seems to be kind of used as a metaphorical window dressing representing the utter break down of society to tell the true meat of the tale and it diverges heavily from Fallout's feel because of its themes (and also because the world of Equestria has a lot of fantasy in its roots since Faust used LotR, Narnia, mythology, and a few fantasy novels in originally creating the setting. One can't really get rid of them with out tossing out the core of Equestria as well).

I think it caught on because it is kind of a zeitgeist that mirrored how a good number of Bronies felt; the world is uncaring and in a metaphorical shambles (what with the economic situation and exploding political tensions) and this fic presented a character who rises above the ever-present sense of anomie (represented by the wasteland) and is inspired by visions of the old pre-conflict Equestria (our ponies) to try to restore the good using the Mane Six and pre-corruption Equestria as a model (for some reason a song is coming to mind here :p). Along the way LittlePip sees how good intentions and misunderstandings led to the corruption and destruction of old Equestrian society and learns from them and he also learns that even if one makes mistakes and fails causing hurt then one shouldn't give up but instead one should try harder to not make the mistake again in the future. Additionally, one should try to make up for the damage by doing good and continue by concentrating on the good that is inside us all.

As for the side fics: I've only really read Project Horizons which has similar themes but tends to have a more limited and personal scope. All of the mane characters have deep psychological wounds and the core focus is not on the individual vs. the sense of anomie in society (although that is still a major theme), the focus instead is more on dealing with one's own personal trauma and emotions (punctuated by light-hearted moments of awesome comic relief like the 'Queen Whiskey' bit). One deals with the emotional storms by finding strength in oneself through knowing one's self and the support of others. Another major theme is the dangers of repressing hurt, pain, and bad emotions until they explode and cause harm. On a certain level, I kind of find reading it a little therapeutic and kind of identify with Blackjack - although I've experienced nowhere near the sheer level of trauma she goes through - Blackjack is often the 'strong one' in public for others (heck, a former roommate openly said I was the person who most 'had their shit together' and I've ended up playing therapist to a bunch of people) but deep down inside Blackjack has a fair share of repressed guilt and trauma. Repressing her guilt, emotions, and trauma nearly destroys Blackjack (several times) and it is only when she starts to know herself and accept the guilt, emotions, and trauma that she can begin to heal with the help of her friends.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Damn it Loki!!!

Loki has been playing around with his 'Turn into a mare' spell recently...