Tag Archives: confound these ponies

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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts

In Which I Say Thank You a Lot

I was originally going to create a thank-you video on my YouTube channel to celebrate the 9,001st view here on my blog, but after spending about two hours on the project I realized two very important things:

1. I have absolutely no presence on film.  I am much more eloquent with writing than I am with speaking, and I couldn’t really communicate all of the gratefulness and love that I wanted to convey in that video.

2. Windows Live Movie Maker was either programmed by a team of drunk squirrels or a sadist bent on torturing video editors who can’t afford any other programs.  I was 85% finished with the editing and the program slowly began consuming all of my video files and turning them into clips of blackness and silence.

At this point I was just about ready to re-film the whole thing anyway in an attempt to make it more interesting and less unbearably long, so when that happened I decided to call the project off and do what I do best: write.  (On the bright side, I did manage to make a small “OVER 9000” tribute video yesterday.  You can see that here.)  9,000 views is a big milestone, and, to be honest, one I wasn’t expecting to reach in the foreseeable future, so I’ve got a lot of people to thank.  Let’s get started!

First, a huge thank you to my best friend Adam Swensen, the man responsible for my blog’s very existence.  It was he who, several thousand Internet-years ago in the summer of 2009, suggested that I might enjoy blogging.  He has a blog of his own, “The Next Generation”, where he posts inspirational and challenging articles about life and Christianity, I highly recommend giving it a read.  Adam, thank you for getting me interested in this whole blogging business and for being so encouraging and supportive throughout the first two and a half years. Also, thank you for being one of my closest friends in real life, and for never failing to brighten my day.  I love you, sir!

Next in line for a thank you is the inimitable Jay Lauser.  He and I met way back in the day, when my blog was called “Legend of the Dreamseers” and I used it primarily as a platform for promoting my fantasy writing.  Jay is a Christian fantasy writer as well, and when he found my work one day he left several encouraging comments and requested that I stop by and take a look at his blog, “Sir Emeth Mimetes”, sometime.  I did, it was (and still is) amazing, we kept in touch via comments and, later, via his amazing Holy Worlds Forums (if you’re a Christian and love sci-fi or fantasy you should really check those out), and we became good friends.  I haven’t been around Holy Worlds much lately because of the busyness of school, but I still do check Jay’s blog occasionally and I love his passion for God and his penchant for thinking deeply about life.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep going when my blog was still in its infancy, Jay, and for giving me so much useful feedback to help me improve as a writer.

On that note, thank you to everyone in the Holy Worlds community who has befriended me and read my blog over the years.  I know I won’t be able to name you all, but you know who you are.  You’ve been a great help and a big encouragement to me, and I thank you for that.

I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of the bronies who have stopped by over the past two months since I jumped on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic bandwagon with my first Pony Saturday post, “Confound These Ponies”, in February.  Since then, that has become the single most popular post on my blog, receiving about thirty hits a day from Google searches and a few friendly folks who have been kind enough to spread the link in various forums and such.  While I know that you guys probably don’t keep up with the blog on any regular basis, your visits to my Pony Saturday posts make up over 1/6 of my first nine thousand views nevertheless, so you deserve my sincerest thanks.  You guys are easily the most friendly, welcoming, creative, and all-around wonderful fan community I’ve ever seen, and I consider it a privilege to be counted as one of you.  *Brohoof*.

There’s one person in particular that I need to single out from this group, and that is the incredible Tekaramity.  If you don’t recognize that name, you obviously haven’t been around here lately.  Tek commented on my first Pony Saturday post two months ago, and he’s become a welcome addition to the regular suspects around The Author’s Apprentice since then.  Shortly after his comment, we got in touch via email and grew to be close friends, and I’m truly grateful to have met him.  Tek, thank you for being a wonderful friend, a dependable brother in Christ, and a continual source of encouragement in my life.  Much love to you, brony!  (Also, for those of you who don’t know, Tek has a YouTube channel filled with top-notch Mario Paint Composer remixes of songs from Friendship is Magic that you should really go check out.  Seriously, it’s good stuff.)

Next, and by far the most important, I’m grateful to my incredible, supportive, beautiful, fantastic, loving family.  I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect group of people to which to belong, and I love you all more than I can express.  Dad, thank you for your encouraging and challenging comments, they always drive me to think deeper about the topics that I address.  You’re a true man of God and my role model as I grow up and head out into the world.  Mom, thank you for being such a source of joy in my life.  I love reading your cheerful comments and knowing that you’re keeping up with my writing from home.  To all three of my siblings, thank you for not just being my siblings, but my very best friends as well.  To be so close to all three of you even after you witnessed all of my quirks and faults growing up is, simply put, a far greater blessing than I deserve.  I can’t even begin to list all of the things for which you deserve my thanks, so I’ll just hit the highlights.  Andrew, thank you for reaching out to your little brother and being such a big part of my life.  Some of my greatest memories are the times that we spent together, and you’ve always been one of my biggest encouragements when it comes to writing.  Jonathan, thank you for being the best little brother a guy could have.  Growing up with you has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, and I consider it a privilege to continue being your friend even as we grow older and begin to head in separate directions.  I’ll never stop loving you, never stop missing you, and never stop making sure that you know it.  Christiana, thank you for loving me far and above what I deserve.  I smile for the rest of the day every time I get one of your letters, and whenever I come home I know that you’re going to be the first one to meet me in the driveway with your biggest hug and a dozen great stories about what I missed while I was gone.  I love all of you more than I can express, and if no one else read my blog but you I would keep writing just so that I had another way to keep in touch with you.

Finally, I’d like to thank every single one of you who has read my blog in the past two and a half years.  Whether you’re responsible for a large chunk of those views or just one, thank you for coming and making this blog the most fun experiment I’ve ever tried.  Dozens and dozens of wonderful stories have shaped the writing of this blog, and hundreds more have arisen from the friends I’ve met and the interactions I’ve had, and I owe it all to you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make The Author’s Apprentice what it is today, and I look forward to another two and a half years of adventures with you.

And, of course, my greatest and most heartfelt thank you goes to the Author of my story and every other story in His creation.  God, 9000 views means absolutely nothing if you aren’t glorified by my writing.  Thank you for giving me this gift for the written word and for giving me this wonderful opportunity to use it, and thank you for writing my story so beautifully so far.  I can’t wait to see what you have written out for the next two and a half years.

My love goes out to all of you, and may God bless you,

– Timothy Newton

8 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts

Friendship is Music

Yesterday was Friday, which means that today is (in my best WheezyWaiter impression) Saturday, Saturday, Pony Saturday!  If you didn’t get that reference, do yourself a favor and swing by WheezyWaiter’s channel to experience such wonders as the alligator pit, Quiet Clone, and, of course, Explosion Wednesdays (which may or may not be a thing).

Now that I’ve fulfilled my daily quota of shameless endorsements, on to the actual post.  This week, the spotlight is on Friendship is Magic’s two staff musicians, songwriter Daniel Ingram and composer William Anderson.  Both of these guys put a great amount of talent and effort into their work, and it shows.  Ingram’s delightful songs, from quick and cheerful ditties to full-blown musical numbers, are so catchy that they’ll latch onto your brain after just one listen, not to mention the lyrics in the two musical-style pieces, and Anderson’s background music blends with (and adds to) the action and atmosphere on screen perfectly every time.  Seriously, some of his stuff sounds like it could be straight from a movie soundtrack.  And while it might seem that only fans of the show would have the opportunity to enjoy this music, that’s not true at all.  There are instrumental and original versions of most of Ingram’s songs and several clips of Anderson’s music without the sounds from the show available on YouTube, and I can almost guarantee that you will like them no matter who you are.  Go on, give it a try!

Here are a few samples of Daniel Ingram’s work:

“Winter Wrap Up (With Voices)”
(This is easily Ingram’s catchiest piece.  I’ve never met a person who’s heard this song and not had it stuck in their head for days afterwards – and I’ve never heard them complain about that fact, either.)

“Winter Wrap Up (Instrumental)”

“Art of the Dress”
(This song has one of my favorite lines of all Daniel Ingram’s tunes: “All we ever want is indecision/ all we really like is what we know.”  It’s not often you hear thoughtful lines like that in a song from a cartoon.)

“Cutie Mark Crusader Theme Instrumental”
(Don’t let the name fool you, this is the most hardcore tune in the show to date – and by hardcore I do mean electric guitars and drums and the like.  Trust me, just listen to it.)

If you liked those, click here to read an interview that my friend Tekaramity conducted with Daniel Ingram.  It’s good stuff.

Also, here are three versions of various Daniel Ingram pieces that fans covered/remixed.  The original music is still Ingram’s work, these guys just added their own twist to it and made a whole new kind of awesome.

“Pinkie Pie’s No Fear Song (Giggle at the Ghostly) Piano Cover”
(Super-mellow, very pretty piano cover)

“Giggle at the Ghostly (Saltlakrit’s 20% Cooler Remix)”
(Super-pumped-up, very perky dance remix)

“Friendship is Magic Piano Medley”
(Super-every-positive-adjective-you-can-think-of, very talented piano medley)

And here’s some music by William Anderson:

“Photo Finish Theme”

“Rarity’s Fashion Show”
(This is one of my favorite Anderson pieces right here.  As Tek put it (in TV Tropes terms), it’s a real Crowning Music of Awesome.)

“The CMC Go Questing”

“Sonic Rainboom”
(This one feels like the score from a movie, the orchestra and rock band mixture is just fantastic)

“Final Encounter (Battle with Nightmare Moon)”
(I’ve saved the best for last.  The music from the climax of the two-part pilot is a perfect example of how William Anderson goes the extra proverbial mile to make the music for this show sound great.  Those iconic notes at 3:04 don’t sound so girlie when played by a full orchestra now, do they?)

Enjoy the musical goodness, and I’ll see you tomorrow with (hopefully) a new Work in Progress video from myself and Dan.

2 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts

You Had To Know It Was Coming

Fillies and gentlecolts, I present to you the Inception trailer – pony style.

I figured it was only a matter of time, and I was hoping that it would be A) not a long time and B) very well done.  I was not disappointed.  I could have just added this video to the Confound These Remixes post from a week or two ago, but I didn’t because A) most of you would probably never have gotten to see the magnificence if I’d done that and B) it’s 11:50 PM here and I still hadn’t done anything for PostADay.  Two final notes: A) I think I’m getting addicted to this A/B format and B) here’s another Christopher Nolan trailer mashup that you deserve to see if you haven’t already:

Also, in other inevitable news, I finally caved in and gave those confounded ponies their own category.  Just click “Those Confounded Ponies” in the sidebar over there to see my previous weekly Pony Posts… if you’re free, of course.  There are actually a lot more of them than I was expecting, which is weird considering I wrote them all.  Have I really been watching this show for two months?  Well, you know what they say: time flies when you’re having fun and/or when your days pass in a blurred jumble as you try to keep up with your schoolwork.  That’s one of my favorite adages.

Leave your favorite goofy saying in the comments below, and have a great Saturday night.

2 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts

New Video (Sort Of)

I’m going to be at home and away from my school’s speedy Internets this weekend, so I’m bumping the Saturday pony post up to today.  That’s a good thing, though, because two big, pony-related things are happening today.  First of all, today is the day before MLP Profile Picture Month officially begins.  During the month of April, all Friendship is Magic fans on Facebook are changing our profile pics to ponies.  Why?  Because we can.  If you want, you can join in, too!  Here are a few fun pictures that you can use if you’d like (Protip: Bucket Dash is always a good choice):

Also, I’m working on a new video project right now that is decidedly pony-related.  After seeing all of the amazing videos in the “Confound These Remixes!” post a while back, I considered making one of my own.  Then, the other day, I was watching Julian Smith’s “I’m Reading a Book”, and I couldn’t help but think it would be amazing to use that audio to create a video of everyone’s favorite bookworm, Twilight Sparkle, rapping/singing “Don’t you ever interrupt me while I’m reading a book!”  Confound these ponies, they drive me to video editing!  I’m not finished with it yet, but I posted a 20 second preview to YouTube today, so feel free to check that out here and let me know what you think in the comments below.  Have a great day, and I’ll be reporting in tomorrow from my lovely home in Michigan.  Until then, God bless!

Also, this:

2 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts

Confound These Remixes!

One of my favorite things about “Friendship is Magic” is how many fun creations have arisen from some talented and creative fans.  While these are generally funnier if you’ve seen the show I think you’ll get a kick out of some of them even if you’ve only got a passing knowledge of the characters.  So here, for this Saturday’s pony post, I’ve collected some of my favorite “Friendship is Magic” fan creations.

Eurobeat Remixes

“Friendship is Magic” features songs every once in a while.  While a few of them have been full-blown, musical-style numbers, most are just Pinkie Pie breaking into twenty-second snippets of song for no apparent reason other than that she’s Pinkie Pie.  A guy who goes by the name of Eurobeat Brony, however, has taken nearly all of the songs on the show and turned them into amazingly good, full-length (3-4 minutes) Eurobeat tunes.  This is one of those things that you definitely don’t need to like the show to enjoy, you just need to like a good Eurobeat and you’ll have a blast (thanks to Tek for pointing out that Eurobeat and techno are not the same thing).   I’ll embed my personal favorite and provide links to the rest:

“Cutie Mark Crusaders Theme (BlankFlank Mix)”

“Winter Wrap-Up (EuroSpring Mix)”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0ZyTzgoLGA
“Art of the Dress (EuroFashion Mix)”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MunCk4b6ofM
“Evil Enchantress (EuroSpell Mix)”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atnSTtiWU5E
“Cupcakes (Extended)”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39ofvrQJj2I
“Fluttershy’s Lullaby (Stay Up Late Mix)”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa6_ZMBFUpQ
“Giggle at the Ghostly (ParaParasprite Mix)”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SY9t81sVsE&feature=related
“You Gotta Share (Spaghetti Western Remix)”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FGmgVu9Nz0
“So Many Wonders  (EuroSky Mix)”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnTPsNAutKY&feature=feedu

8-Bit Remixes:

The musical fun doesn’t stop yet.  For retro-lovers, there are also 8-bit versions for a few of these songs.  These are only as long as the source material from the show, and they’re more fun if you’ve heard the original song, but they’re still pretty darned good.  Again, the embedded one is my personal favorite and the rest are just links.

“Art of the Dress”

“Winter Wrap-Up”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPLsQJJUTmE&feature=related
“Giggle at the Ghostly”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA_nxysSA5c&feature=related
“Evil Enchantress”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAoZVGicsvw
“Cutie Mark Crusaders Theme”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PNDwH2xQ-w
“Hush Now, Quiet Now”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07zf7n2dHaw
“Cupcakes”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9G0g3GfHQY

Trailer Mashups:

The idea is simple: take the sound from a well-known and totally non-pony-related trailer and sync it up with video clips from episodes of “Friendship is Magic”.  These people took that simple idea and made it fantastic with their wizard-like editing skills and fun sense of humor.  Watch Fluttershy scream “This.  Is.  SPARTA!”, or see Twilight play the part of Colonel Jim Raynor… and Gandalf (in two different trailers, of course).  It’s all here, and it’s all too spectacular not to like.  Go on, try.  See, I told you.  I’m going to embed all of these because they’re just that good.  We’ll start with the undisputed champion… EDIT: Ponycraft 2 used to occupy this spot, but seriously – Pinkie Pie as The Joker, Appleboom as Alfred, and Rainbow Dash as Batman?  You can’t top that.

The Dark Knight = The Rainbow Knight

Starcraft 2 = Ponycraft 2

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim = The Elder Scrolls VI: Equestria

Mass Effect 2 = Pony Effect 2

300 = 300 Ponies

The Lord of the Rings = The Lord of the Ponies (EDIT: New and improved edition featuring Spike as Frodo.)

Also, anyone who’s ever played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion deserves to see this:

Funny Pictures:

Lastly, there are some great image mashups of “Friendship is Magic” characters and things from real life (like movie and video game posters, car logos, and even a certain game show).  Most of them are clever, many of them are pun-tastic, and all of them are good for a laugh (or at least a chuckle).

Whoever came up with this is a pun master. This gets me every time.

Everybodys favorite background character (after Derpy, of course). With an hourglass for a cutie mark, who else could he be but that time-traveling Brit?

Move over, Will Smith. Theres a new post-apocalyptic hero in town. Lets hope the zombies are vulnerable to cake and/or being poked with party hats. Also, when you see the release date...

Nuff said...

This one is devoid of puns, but I had to include it because Portal is my favorite game ever, and the sequel is coming out in less than a month. I wonder if Pinkie Pie realizes that the cake is a lie...

Just in case that other Portal picture wasnt good enough, theres this one, too. Now youre thinking with ponies...

Assassins Creed x Ponies. Ah, the irony. I tip my hat to the artist on this one - nicely done (their deviantArt profile is in the bottom right corner of the picture).

As if the poster wasnt great enough, someone else made a "screenshot". Why Rainbow Dash became an assassin well never know...

More post-apocalyptic action! But how does Applejack pull the trigger on that pistol?

Youd have to see the show to understand a few of the jokes here, but Applebloom looking like a hardened war-hero is still funny.

Also, this. Apparently Scootaloo is a special agent.

Team Fortress 2 just got 20 percent cooler.

Then theres this classic Legend of Zelda reference... I can almost hear the plinking money-receiving music.

Last video game related picture. Expecting someone else, Mario?

Applejack, how did you get inside the Texas state flag?

Rainbow Dash is apparently very patriotic.

Ill take "Friendship" for $100, Alex.

I hope you enjoyed the music and got a chuckle or two out of the pictures and videos, and I leave you with this because it makes me laugh:

Have a good night, everyone!

9 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts

What’s Not To Like?

We’ve all been there before.  You’ve just finished watching a movie or reading a book and there was just something about it that left a bad taste in your mouth.  You can’t quite put your finger on it, you just didn’t enjoy it.  Unfortunately, in most cases we don’t give it any further thought.  Our only concern in entertainment is whether or not it successfully entertains us, so the reasons behind our reactions are often left unconsidered in favor of simple like-or-dislike assessments.  That’s a shame, because we could glean dozens of lessons by stopping for a moment to question why the things that please us please us and why other things don’t.  Which parts of the story failed to hold your attention?  What lines made you cringe?  Which characters annoyed you and which did you wish had gotten more attention?  What is it about those things that you find boring, unnerving, obnoxious, or appealing?  For a story-lover like myself, these questions perform a double purpose.  Not only can they offer boundless insights into what makes me who I am, sometimes even convicting me of things that I need to change, but they also unlock a wealth of truths about what separates the great stories from the weak.

One example is yesterday’s new episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, “The Show Stoppers”.  A lot of fans didn’t like it, but they were awfully vague as to why.  Most of them gave one or two reasons at best, and many of those were superficial, but I have to admit that I agree with the general consensus.  There was something about the episode that didn’t work well, and my writer’s mind had to know what it was.  I spent a little time thinking through those critical questions, and pretty soon I had an idea of what was off about the episode: there was no focus.  One of the things that I loved about many of the previous episodes was their clarity and focus.  Each episode was moving toward a goal, a moment of character development, and each scene served to build up to that moment, developing a theme and moving the story toward a satisfying conclusion.  In “The Show Stoppers”, though, a lot of scenes seemed tacked-on.  Instead of weaving jokes into scenes, they added unneeded scenes as platforms for their jokes, and there were a couple of montages that really could have gone without saying (or showing in this case).  Because of all of that time spent on scenes that didn’t add to the theme, any attempts at character development felt rushed, and by the end of the episode there was still no real theme.  None of the characters changed, none of them learned anything, they simply experienced the events of the episode and moved on.  Every good story needs a goal toward which to move, and it needs to ignore the details that don’t move it there, and that’s where “The Show Stoppers” fell short.

If I’d just shrugged and written off the episode as “lame” or “boring” from the moment the credits rolled, I wouldn’t have learned anything from the writers’ mistakes.  By thinking through what I didn’t like and how I might have done it differently, I got some great mental exercise in pacing and theme development.  Think about all of the opportunities that we pass up when we settle for merely being entertained, and imagine all we could discover if we approached entertainment with our minds engaged and probing questions at the ready.  Every story we experience could become a chance to think and learn and grow, and what’s not to like about that?

2 Comments

Filed under Older-Type Posts