The End

Ever since the start of Singular Spectrum two weeks ago, I’ve largely neglected The Author’s Apprentice.  Part of that is because I’m so busy, but another very important part of it is because I wanted to see how site traffic would change.  The results are interesting but not unexpected: traffic hasn’t slowed down a bit, because almost all of my hits come from Google searchers stumbling upon my MLP:FiM-related posts.  Naturally, that means that not very many people have been coming around to read new updates, so I think it’s time to transition completely over to Singular Spectrum and officially close the book on The Author’s Apprentice.  If you still follow the action here and are reading this, I’d strongly, strongly encourage you to subscribe to Singular Spectrum, my new project with my friends Adam Swensen and Adam Beckmeyer.  It’s more organized, more varied, and altogether a lot of fun, I really think you’ll like it!  Thanks for a really fun three years here on my first ever blog, you regular readers are what kept me going and brought me to where I am today, ready to move on to bigger and better things.  This is officially the last-ever post on The Author’s Apprentice, so since I’ve always wanted to say it, I will: You’ve been great, thank you, and goodnight!

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Interview with Tekaramity

A while back, I asked my good friend Tekaramity if he’d let me interview him for the blog, and he graciously accepted.  The first set of questions focuses more on Tek’s contributions to the brony community (yes, this is partly an interview about interviews), and the second set focuses more on some in-depth personal questions.  Even if you’re not a brony, though, I’d encourage you to read the whole thing.  Tek is a stupendous guy, and his heart shows in all of his equally outstanding answers.  Without further ado, fillies and gentlecolts, it’s Tekaramity!

1. So, first things first for any readers who don’t know you already: Who is this Tekaramity guy?  We’ll get more in-depth with these sort of questions later, but as a sort of introduction, what are ten words that you would use to describe yourself?

Effervescent, crowd-shy, compassionate, overworked, bizarre, and organized. Like a boss. Hardcore. (This isn’t ten.)

2. Before we get to the more standard questions, let’s talk about those confounded ponies.  Most regular readers know that we met through our shared bronyhood, but how did you first become a part of the herd?

October 15th, 2010. I was lurking the Comic Edits thread on the Penny Arcade forums, and I noticed that the sophisticated and inestimable SabreMau had posted a PA edit referring to a new My Little Pony show that was “apparently quite good.” He had also posted a link to the Hub’s website for said show. Trusting his judgment, I followed the link, decided I liked the cute ponies, found the pilot (and, at the time, only) episode on YouTube at pensivepine’s channel (before she had to switch over to pensivepony), and watched MLP:FiM. By the time the theme song played, I’d decided I liked the show; by the time the credits rolled, I was hooked for life.

3. Alright, on to the big 3 – favorite pony, favorite episode, favorite song.  Which ones are yours and why?

Favorite pony: Mane6 plus Spike. Specifically, though, I like Rainbow Dash’s design best, Rarity’s dialogue best, and Pinkie Pie’s personality best.

Favorite episodes: Party of One, Suited for Success, and Cutie Mark Chronicles.

Favorite songs: Art of the Dress, Hush Now Quiet Now, and At the Gala.

Favorite music: Cutie Mark Crusading, Rarity’s second fashion show, and Pinkie’s psychotic breakdown.

Favorite fan music: Hush Now Quiet Now Ponybeat, You Gotta Share Ponybeat, and At the Gala Ponybeat. (I really like Ponybeat. A lot.)

Favorite OC ponies: Frosty Starr, Sunny Spring, and Tek Pony! ^.^

4. A while back, you joined the staff of Equestria Daily.  How have you collaborated with Sethisto, Cereal Velocity, and Phoe?  And how has your position at EqD changed the way that you interact with the community?

I’ve worked with Seth a bit on various random projects, but mostly as an adviser or assistant only. That YouTube archive is my own build completely, for the record. I’ve worked with Cereal Velocity a bit on various interview projects, mostly talking through audio engineering and final drafts. By far, I’ve worked the most closely with Phoe. First, I provided her timely feedback and suggestions for her Q&A with Jayson Thiessen; that project wound up being about 90% Phoe, 8% Tek, and 2% Cereal. Second, she and I spent hours (’til 7 AM, one night) polishing and fine-tuning my Q&A with Lauren Faust; that project wound up being about 90% Tek, 8% Phoe, and 2% Cereal (Cereal must not be whole-fat [ba-dum-TISH]). Finally, she and I teamed up most effectually to bring about the Jayson Thiessen audio interview; that project split about 45% to both Tek and Phoe, with Cereal supplying the other 10% via light audio engineering. I absolutely enjoy working with Phoe and will most certainly do so again during future interview projects.

In terms of interaction with the community, the one thing I’m not looking to be is a ‘rock star’ or famous pony fan. I made some excellent friends before I joined EqDaily and interviewed FiM crew members, and I cherish friendship more than admiration. However, I readily admit that I have made some great friends in part because of my becoming a slightly-well-known community member. I’m in this for the ponies and the friendship, but I truly do appreciate the support and encouragement from fans as well. ^_^ You rock, everypony!

5. One of your biggest and most fascinating contributions to the brony fandom has been your ever-growing number of interviews with prominent figures from the FiM team.  As I recall, your first big interview was with Daniel Ingram.  How did you secure that opportunity, and what were the high and low points of the experience?

Daniel offered to be interviewed for EqDaily back when it was relatively small (fewer than 720,000 hits). I had e-mailed him asking about the potential for a soundtrack release as well as any notifications regarding Season 2. In the middle of the exchange, he offered to be interviewed. Seth agreed to let me conduct the interview, which I readily admit I had hoped to do after reading Daniel’s offer; while I’m in no way a professionally-educated journalist, I am confident enough in my writing and cognitive processing abilities to be capable of handling this sort of project. The high points were definitely communicating with Daniel himself (he’s a jovial guy, to be sure) and being able to bring such insightful information to the community at large. The low points were fumbling through the process due to my severe lack of familiarity with it and sounding a bit fanboyish in a couple of my initial e-mails. I definitely improved on all points for my interview with Will Anderson, the show’s underscore composer.

6. Another interview that stands out is your interview with Jayson Thiessen – not only because he’s the Supervising Director of the show, but also because, unlike all of your other interviews, you actually conducted and recorded this one vocally together with co-EqD-editor Phoe.  What were some of the highlights of getting to actually talk with Jayson Thiessen?

For certain, the greatest aspect of that interview was talking with Jayson before and after the recorded segment. We were all nervous going to it – Jayson included, since he’d never done anything like this before! – but he definitely shattered the ice with his outgoing demeanor and conversational pep. By the time we reached most of the interview proper, we were basically discussing the show as a group instead of strictly interviewing him directly. After we concluded the actual interview portion, we talked further about the show’s expansion and overwhelmingly positive support. Jayson’s a swell guy, and he definitely made the entire process 720% easier. So, thanks again for that, Jayson!

7. And then, of course, there’s THE big interview: Faust herself.  If you’re at liberty to say, how did that golden opportunity come to be?  And how was this interview different from the others that you’ve conducted?

I’m probably at liberty to say, but I don’t want to say out of respect for her time and privacy. However, it wasn’t difficult to secure her interest – rather, the difficult part was the seemingly interminable wait between her acceptance and the Hub’s final approval. Once that was all set, everything flowed quite smoothly. And mostly, this interview was different because I polished and fine-tuned that question set (along with Phoe’s help) for hours on end. I spent more time preparing my side of that interview than I did preparing for my side of all my other previous interviews combined. (Fun[?] fact: I finished my side of Lauren’s interview before I finished my side of Jayson’s interview, but Jayson’s had to be moved up to the day [Monday] before we launched it on EqDaily [Tuesday] – as such, Phoe and I were a bit…pressed for time. ^_^;; Everything went swimmingly once we were aware of this, however!) Also, in talking with Lauren herself, I found that much of my communication was…bittersweet. The others – Daniel, Will, Jayson – remain on board the show. Lauren does not. This was basically her grand final farewell to MLP:FiM, and to be cognizant of the fact that *I* helped bring it out is…humbling.

8. One last pony-related question before we move on to some more general fare: what is your favorite part about this fandom and why?

The overwhelming outpouring of love, friendship, creativity, brilliance, and unity that this community continues to unleash on a daily basis is irreplaceable – and truly, truly invaluable. It’s bringing out the best in each of us, and for that it deserves so much gratitude and honor.

9. Now for a handful of more in-depth questions before we close.  What is your biggest passion?  And how does that affect the way that you live?

My biggest passion is dislodging apathy. People ought to care about their devotions – be they persons, places, or things – in order to benefit the world around them. Apathy truly frightens me, and I look to never allow it to settle in to my own life…but, beyond that, I want to show others how great they can be as well when they’re sincerely showing care and purpose.

10. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?

I’d add more respect to the world, because the lack of respect in this world is hurting all other areas of it.

11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

I’d add more respect to myself, because the lack of respect in myself is hurting all other areas of me.

12. Who are your heroes and what about them inspires you?

My mother and brother are my heroes and devotions. They have shown limitless love, wisdom, and familial support to me – and I owe it to them to repay and justify their great sacrifices. Also, some of my best friends are quite heroic to me – notably, Frostheart The Siamese, for being the absolute best friend I could possibly want. She’s an angel. <3 Finally, this might be a bit shortsighted and human-centered, but I hope to one day reflect the sincere heart and song that I’ve seen for so long in Steven Curtis Chapman.

13. What do you want your life to look like in 5 years? At the end of your life? What are you doing today to bring that about?

In 5 years, I want to be pursuing a graduate degree in economics, serving a compassionate and progressive church, and still watching new seasons of ponies (hope against hope!). At the end of my life, I hope to have dislodged some apathy and inspired some respect. Love is the movement, Tim, but respect is the evidence and proof. Shining is helpful but passive, but inspiring…that is something. Today, I’m pursuing an undergraduate degree of economics, serving a compassionate and progressive church (oh hey, one goal accomplished already!), and watching the new season of pony (singular being the key difference here, as yet). By communicating with and loving those around me, I’m looking to begin dislodging some apathy and inspiring some respect. Also, I’m answering these questions since you nicely asked me to so very long ago. ^.^;;

14. How can we pray for you?

To gain wisdom, foresight, and perception…to lose reactivity, rigidity, and fear…to show what I say and reaffirm what I mean.

15. Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Tek, and for all of your hard work in the brony community.  Do you have any final thoughts or comments that you’d like to voice?

Stay 100% awesome, all of you! You included, Timster. =)

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A New Direction

You may have noticed a few subtle changes around The Author’s Apprentice lately. If not, I’m sure you’ll see what I’m talking about soon as the changes become less and less subtle over the next few days.  Here’s the deal: a few months ago, two of my very best friends, Adam Swensen and Adam Beckmeyer, and I decided to put our heads together and launch a collaborative blog as a way of staying close over the next semester.  They’re attending school in Washington state and Alabama respectively, so I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to interact with them so closely on this project.

We launched said project, Singular Spectrum, tonight over at http://singularspectrum.wordpress.com, and I’d encourage all of you to go check it out.  Both of the Adams are incredible guys with a lot of great things to say, and I think you’ll enjoy the unique flavor of the site (not to mention the spectacular posts we have lined up so far for our first week).  We’re going to be updating daily, each of us writing two posts a week, so be sure to check in regularly over the next few days to get a taste of the two Adams’ stellar writing.

That said, I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to redefine the direction that I want to take with The Author’s Apprentice.  Ever since I tried PostADay the content on this blog has rapidly spiraled out of focus and into utter chaos.  As much fun as that chaos occasionally was, most of the time I found myself wondering how things had gotten so out of hand and how I could reign them back in again, and now I have the perfect chance.  So, over the next few days, I’ll be freshening up the look of the site, updating the About pages and categories and the like, and taking The Author’s Apprentice in a slightly new direction.  From here on out, most of my posts about everyday life, media reviews, or humor will go up on Singular Spectrum while The Author’s Apprentice will return to the roots of its namesake: posts about writing, story and character ideas, and ruminations about following the Author Himself and what I’ve learned from Him.

Once I have all of the changes in place, I’ll get right back to posting as soon as possible.  I’m aiming to update with my next regular post, an amazing interview that I had the privelege to conduct with my friend Tekaramity, on Wednesday evening, so don’t miss it.  Until then, show some love to the Adams over at Singular Spectrum and keep being awesome, my friends.

I’ll catch you on the (much tidier) flip side!

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Way back in May, when Lauren Faust stepped down from her work on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I set out to collect letters of thanks from bronies around the Internet in a post on this blog and find a way to deliver them to Lauren as a way of showing her how much her work means to us.  I called the project Letters to Lauren, and scores of bronies responded, sending over 140 letters total to be included in the collection.

After a frenzied day of adding letters to the post, I set out to bring them to Lauren’s attention.  I tried a few different methods, none of which panned out, and I began to wonder if I’d started something I wasn’t really prepared to finish.  Then Tek stepped in.  My friend Tekaramity, one of the blogponies at Equestria Daily, told me cryptically a short while ago that he just might have some way of delivering all of the letters I’d collected.  It turns out that he was in the process of conducting an interview with Lauren herself (read it here, it’s amazing), and he told her personally about Letters to Lauren.  I have it on his good authority that Lauren Faust is right now in the process of reading through each one of the letters that you sent me.

Yes, you read that right.  Lauren Faust is reading through Letters to Lauren.

As you may be able to tell, I am absolutely floored.  My sincerest thanks to Tekaramity for proving once again that he is the Element of Generosity and using his incredible opportunity to speak with Lauren to make this dream come true for me and the bronies who sent in their letters, and an equally sincere thanks to all of you bronies who sent in your letters and made this project come alive.  It was an enormous privilege to help coordinate this effort, and I’m so glad that it was such a success.

And, of course, a huge thanks to Lauren Faust.  You’re a great force for good in this world, Lauren, and we all appreciate what you do.

Your faithful mail pony,

Tim N.

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Song of the Week: “Now My Feet Won’t Touch the Ground” by Coldplay

Coldplay has a knack for crafting musically complex, lyrically gripping tunes, but this little gem from the end of the Prospekt’s March EP draws its stunning beauty from its simplicity.  It’s short, it’s soft, and it’s irresistibly sweet.  This is the kind of song that I could just sit and listen to for hours on end without getting sick of it.  Enjoy!

“Now My Feet Won’t Touch the Ground” by Coldplay

Let me go, boys, let me go
Push my boat from the highest cliff to the sea below
Rocks are waiting, boys, rocks await
Swoop down from the sky and catch me like a bird of prey

Now my feet won’t touch the ground
Now my head won’t stop
You wait a lifetime ’til you’re found
Now my feet won’t touch the ground

Singing now my feet won’t touch the ground
Now my head won’t stop
You wait a lifetime ’til you’re found
Now my feet won’t touch the ground
Now my feet won’t touch the ground

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New Things

            I ate a frog leg today.  I was eating dinner at a Chinese buffet with my dad, Pastor Pepe and his family, and some missionaries to Argentina, and they had a big pan of fried frog legs nestled in next to the sesame chicken and crab cheese, so I decided to try one.  Dad and Pastor Pepe assured me that frog legs taste like chicken.  They don’t.  They taste like frogs.  They’re also kind of chewy.

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Confound These Ponies 2 (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ponies)

Way back in February, I wrote a post about a little show called “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”.  At the time, I’d just finished watching the first few episodes, and I was dumbfounded.  I liked it, that much was certain, but I was having a hard time figuring out why.  So I blogged about it, and nearly six months later, much to my surprise, the people of the Internet have viewed that post over 4,000 times.  Some of them identified with my observations, some thought I was being ridiculous, but most agreed on one thing: I wasn’t getting the whole picture.  They were right.

A lot has changed in those six months, and it’s time to set the record straight.

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