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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Last post of 2015

Started in on my Christmas reading. That is, reading the books I got as presents. First one is kind of a cheat since it’s just a ebook I bought with a gift card and is a book I’m rereading. Hogfather by Terry Prachett is a bit of an odd duck in that it’s not really one of my favorite Discworld books, but it has some of my favorite insightful moments in it. This one in paritcular, near the end where Susan is talking about the situation with her grandfather, who happens to be Death.

“Thank you. Now…tell me…”

WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HADN’T SAVED HIM?

“Yes! The sun would have risen just the same, yes?”

NO.

“Oh, come on. You can’t expect me to believe that. It’s an astronomical fact.”

THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.

She turned on him.

“It’s been a long night, Grandfather! I’m tired and I need a bath! I don’t need silliness!”

THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.

“Really? Then what would have happened, pray?”

A MERE BALL OF FLAMING GAS WOULD HAVE ILLUMINATED THE WORLD.

They walked in silence for a moment. “Ah,” said Susan dully. “Trickery with words. I would have thought you’d have been more literal-minded than that.”

I AM NOTHING IF NOT LITERAL-MINDED. TRICKERY WITH WORDS IS WHERE HUMANS LIVE.

“All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need…fantasies to make life bearable.”

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

“So we can believe the big ones?”

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

“They’re not the same at all!”

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”

MY POINT EXACTLY.

She tried to assemble her thoughts.

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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Reading 2015

 

Pony Stories 531

Been playing a game called Kingdom: Nothing Lasts. It’s really simple and really interesting. As of this point I’ve beaten it once and played it dozens (?) of times. A lot, anyway. I’d put this up there with Mark of the Ninja in how to do game design. It’s got monsters that are not exactly amazingly original, but they are unique and that means that I didn’t know what to expect. The first guys are just little evil shadow creatures, as the game goes on some of them get masks and such that make them tougher. Basically the same as any evil minion monster thing. However, since they weren’t any of the standard monsters (orcs, goblins, bugs, etc) I didn’t know what to expect next. Which means that when the other monsters showed up I got surprised. I actually jumped a bit when the second type of monster showed up. Not out of fear, but just surprise and what-the-fuck-ness. Which was a cool moment. There are a few places the game could be better. The biggest thing is that when you lose you can’t quit the game until you’ve started a new one. Which is simple as heck, but I do kind of wish there was a quit/restart option whenever you lost. That’s the biggest complaint from me about it, which tells you the game is pretty neat. It is a little frustrating that you don’t have any direct control over your kingdom. All you can do as the player is collect money, build things, and assign types of tasks. Like you can make one guy a worker, another guy an archer, another guy a farmer. Even that is fairly indirect. You simply buy a hammer, or bow, or scythe, and the next unassigned guy that wanders over there grabs it and starts doing that job.

Still, totally worth the money. I’d recommend buying it if you want something a little different. Just don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to get the hang of things. I’ve died on day one a couple of times and until I got into the swing of things I was only lasting about ten days or so. At the moment I’m playing to see if I can replicate my one victory. After I do that I’ll probably not play it again if my strategy turns out to be repeatable. Once I can win on a regular basis the game doesn’t have much replay value.

The Longest Night by Tundara

Decent story. Somewhat above average for the niche genre it belongs in. If you liked the song Lullaby For A Princess, give this a shot. Or if you really enjoy stories dealing with Nightmare Moon’s banishment. Had one tiny bit of worldbuilding I thought was near, but can’t remember now only minutes after finishing it. So not a story that stuck with me.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in Ponies, Reading 2015, Reviews

 

Pony Stories 530

I’m such a nerd. I got some art commissioned and found a place online that does custom calendars. So for 2016 I’ve got a personalized pony calendar with pony holiday names and pony fanart each month. In other money for ponies news, the physical books for Life and Times of Winning Pony are getting close to being ready for orders. I’m thinking about actually getting a copy. It wasn’t my favorite ponyfic, but there was cool stuff and I did enjoy reading it. Plus, as I keep saying each time it comes up, the Changeling attack in the second half is the best integration of fan fiction and show events I’ve run across.

Long-ish review today. As always, this doesn’t mean I put more effort into cleaning it up and raising the quality. Just means I had a lot of thoughts I wanted to get down and think through during and right after reading the story.

  • Odrsjot by Imploding Colon

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Posted by on December 20, 2015 in Ponies, Reading 2015, Reviews

 

Pony Stories 529

I’m attempting to add a bit more number-crunching to the big master review list. Specifically having it keep track of the numbers I put up in the last BMRL stats post. How much overlap in reviews does each reviewer have and the amount of stories in each review number slot. There has got to be a better way to write that. I’ll figure it out eventually. Anyway! Tossing a request for assistance since I’m running into the wall of ignorance. Anyone out there with the spreadsheet knowledge that can help, I would appreciate it. What I’m trying to do is compare two columns on one list (in this case, a specific number in one column with anything in the second column) and display the total on a second sheet of that google sheets document. There has got to be a way to do it, but I’m just not thinking of it.

Two other random bits, one from the internet and one from the random part of my brain. Today’s (when I wrote this) searches to find this blog are: police operatives and nonpareil youths cancel. I have no idea how those are split up. The other is I had this utterly random out of the blue idea. I honestly have no clue what triggered it. Alicorn ascension requirements are simply have sex with a pony from each of the three tribes.


 

The Element of Surprise by Trick Question

A little sad, a little sweet, and pretty good for a first fanfic. Also a pretty good take on the whole Twilight outlives her friends situation.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2015 in Ponies, Reading 2015, Reviews

 

More big master review list numbers

Decided to do another comparison with the numbers from the big master review list. I also found a even older set of numbers for the comparison I did for the 10k milestone. So I’ll be putting those in at the bottom as well. As usual, when going through the big master review list for something like this, I’ve found places where I messed up and odd typos. Apparently there were two entries for One Man’s Ramblings and One Many’s Pony Ramblings. Plus, apparently, at some point it switched the type of apostrophe used for One Man’s Pony Ramblings and was sorting them as different entries. Which took a while for me to figure out what was going wrong when I was sorting that column.

This should show the overlap percentages between reviewers. How many of each person/group have reviewed stories that other people have reviewed. There is no simple way to determine which one reviewed it first. So the overlap does cover stories that a reviewer might have covered first, then others reviewed the same story. So I can’t really track who is getting story recommendations from whom. So if a reviewer has a low percentage it means one of two things. They review stories recommended by other authors, or conversely other reviewers read a lot of stories they review. Beating the bell curve is like that.

As usual, I come away wishing I knew how to do more with spreadsheets. I keep thinking up all sorts of cool comparisons and ideas for data to tease out of the big master review list, but then run into the hard fact that I have no idea how to do anything complex. Want to just click a few buttons and have the computer spit out the numbers I want. My lack of skill (and laziness) means I do everything by hand. Which means that a lot of the number crunching is out of my reach. At least for a hobby project anyway. Plenty of stuff I’d put time and effort into doing if I was getting paid, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon for a niche of a niche of a niche that is tracking pony fan fiction reviews.

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Posted by on December 12, 2015 in Big Master Review List