Tag Archives: MLP:FiM

Wall Paper

To the left of my desk there is a thin strip of wall that is rapidly disappearing beneath a growing collection of doodles, posters, paintings, and other such fantastic doodads.  Its official name is The Great Wall of Paper (and One Watercolor Painting and a Piece of Cardboard), but most of the time I just call it “the wall”. I love the wall, because each article I’ve placed there reminds me of a different aspect of my college experience, and they all have a story behind them.  Together, they make a colorful snapshot of what my freshman year at Moody has been like so far, from the  new things I’ve tried to the new friends I’ve made to the family members I love and miss.  I’ve already mentioned the crazy drawing from my PCM in my “Not Just Any Desk” post, but I thought the rest of the wall deserved equal treatment, so here are all of the items on the Great Wall of Paper from top to bottom:

1. A Watercolor Painting of Mario

 

Super Watercolor Bros.

My friend Adam goes to Art Club every Wednesday, and one week he decided to experiment with watercolors by painting a scene from Super Mario Bros.  When he finished it, he let me have it, so now it’s hanging cheerfully at the top of the wall, giving my room just the right amount of nerdy flair.

2. My 2009 NaNoWriMo Winner’s Certificate

Last year's NaNo winner's certificate.

Right beneath Mario is this orange and squirrelly reminder of my very first NaNoWriMo.  This year’s certificate is framed, so it wouldn’t stay on the wall with tacky putty, but last year’s certificate is there to remind me of how much fun writing is, and how much I can write when I put my mind to it.

3. My “The Best” Sign From “Stop Motion Skyline”

You guys are the best.

One Monday night I had the crazy idea to film a stop motion video, so I sat down with my webcam and started snapping pictures.  Pretty soon, the idea developed into a short little tribute to everyone watching, letting them know that they are, indeed, the best.  That fact still holds true, and that sign still reminds me of all the fun I had trying out a new style of video.

4. My Filming Notice

A sign I made for my door while I'm filming.

Back when I first decided to try vlogging, I made this sign for my door to let people know that they could still come in if they needed anything.  I didn’t want them to think I was in the middle of an important conversation, or worse, that I was talking to myself.  Although in retrospect I essentially was talking to myself and just didn’t want to admit my insanity.  Oh, well.

5. When Beavers Fly

A drawing that my mom did for The Funny Paper Game.

Ah, The Funny Paper Game.  Ever since we learned how to play this Pictionary/Telephone hybrid from our friends, the Swensens, it’s been a family favorite.  I kept this picture, my mom’s interpretation of the sentence “When beavers fly, birds will not”, to remind me of home – and my goofy family whom I miss very much.

6. Derpy Hooves

 

(Might take a little longer to load)

I decided to try my hand at drawing when I first started watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I learned that it isn’t too hard to do.  So, I drew a few pictures to send home to my siblings, then I drew one of my favorite background characters from the show for myself.  I think it adds some much-needed cross-eyedness to the room.

7. That Drawing of Me

‘Nuff said.

8. My “Edit Me” Motivational Poster

Do it now!

I edited the cover art from this year’s NaNo novel to remind me to get some much-needed editing done.  So far I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it, but at least I made the poster.  That’s a step in the right direction, right?

So that’s the Great Wall of Paper, a collection of pictures from all the different parts of my college life.  What kind of drawings, doodles and doodads to you keep around your room, and what are the stories behind them?

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Work in Progress Episode 1 – Fountain Divers

9:00 P.M.  I’m sitting in my room editing a dry and boring vlog, but since it’s already so late I just decide to save, upload, and call it a day.  Enter Dan Schubert, stage right.  “Hey, I’m going on an adventure if you want to come.”

Who in their right mind could say no to that?

11:30 P.M.  We return from our adventure tired and happy, then I realize that the story of our excursion would make a vlog that is at least 20% cooler than the one I just filmed.  So, of course, I completely overhaul the project to bring you the first episode of Dan’s and my new series, “Work in Progress”.  It’s basically just going to be us telling wild stories and laughing a lot, so expect a lot of silliness and hilarity.  We’re calling this episode “Fountain Divers” (you’ll see why), and I have no idea what we’ll talk about next week.  That’s why they call it Work in Progress, right?

In other news, I hope you had a splendid Derpy Day full of muffins and letters and such.  What’s Derpy Day, you may ask?  Here’s how I explained it on my deviantArt page:

Today is March 1st, and for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic that means it’s Derpy Day! Derpy Hooves is a legend among pegasi, a little wall-eyed background player who attracted a huge fan base. They gave her a name, a profession (mail carrier), and a personality, and when the producers got wind of all the Derpy love they wrote her into the show as a canon character. And there was much rejoicing. Now, thanks to some creative brony out there, we have an official day to celebrate all that Derpy stands for: friendship, letters, muffins, and just a little clumsiness. Here are a few ways that you, too, can celebrate Derpy Day:
1. Eat a muffin! Derpy’s only line in the show (besides yelling “surprise” with all the other ponies in episode one) was the word “Muffins” in episode four. Obviously she’s a muffin fan, so why not indulge your inner muffin fan on Derpy Day?
2. Send a letter! Write to someone you care about and wish them a happy Derpy Day. No emails or Facebook, mind you, a paper-and-pencil letter. That’s how Derpy would want it.
3. Move something in your home out of place for the day. This one’s a little strange, but seeing as Derpy’s cross-eyed and a little clumsy, it makes sense. Pick an object that has a designated place and misplace it, for fun and great justice!
That’s all it takes to properly celebrate Derpy Day. Just think, while everyone else is having a plain old March 1st, you could be taking part in a holiday celebration, and one that involves muffins no less. Spread a little friendship and/or magic today, and whatever you do, have a wonderful Derpy Day!

And seeing as that is all I have to say, I leave you with a jaunty, cross-eyed salute.  Tally ho.  6_9

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Confound These Ponies

[EDIT: Six months after writing this post, I wrote a follow-up about how my views on MLP:FiM have changed since I first saw the pilot episodes and wrote this article back in February of 2011.  Click here to read Confound These Ponies 2 (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ponies).]

The other day, I was browsing Know Your Meme, a favorite site of mine.  Basically, it’s a collection of articles on internet fads, phenomenons, and inside jokes, and as I looked through the list of trending articles I found this entry about a new My Little Pony cartoon.  Curious as to how that could possibly be considered a meme, I opened the article and read the unusual tale of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

The cast, clockwise from top left: Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Celestia, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity, Spike (the dragon), and Twilight Sparkle

As it turns out, MLP:FiM (as it’s come to be abbreviated) was created by veteran cartoonist Lauren Faust as a reboot of the popular cartoon series based on the equally popular line of children’s toys.  Apparently, Lauren was looking to create a wholesome cartoon for young girls that boys and adults could enjoy watching as well, but I don’t think she was expecting to meet with quite so much success on that last part.  The show’s popularity exploded in the young adult male demographic as male fans of the show, calling themselves “bronies”, spread MLP-based memes on image boards and forums and encouraged their friends to check out the show on YouTube.  Suddenly, Lauren Faust’s deviantArt page filled up with comments from males who had become hooked on the show and wanted to thank her for making the cartoon.  YouTube videos of the show also exhibited massive numbers of comments from this group, many wondering why in the world they enjoy the show so much and jokingly exclaiming, “Confound those ponies!”

Naturally, I, too, was gripped with curiosity as to what was going on, so I did what any good researcher would do and watched the first episode.

Confound those ponies!

As it happens, the first episode is a two-parter, and I found myself actually interested in watching more.  As I did, I started wracking my brain for answers as to what gives a girls’ cartoon based around cheerful horses such a bizarrely universal appeal.  I think there are a lot of answers to that question, many of which fans have already addressed.  They discuss how the show doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence, how the artwork is carefully detailed and engaging, how the voice acting and writing are well-done, or how the characters are unique and fun to watch.  Granted, all of those factors apply here, and they will give any TV show a level of mass appeal, but I think there’s something deeper at work here, something fundamental to what it means to be a man.

I know, that last sentence sounds really weird, but bear with me.  Obviously, the widespread popularity of a show called “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” among guys raises questions about why any man would enjoy something so clearly non-masculine.  A common comment on YouTube videos of the show is, “I’m a 19 year old guy and I enjoy this show… what’s wrong with me?”  At first glance, that seems like a valid question, but I’d like to suggest that there’s nothing wrong with this situation at all.  Instead, it points to something very right that we’re all missing here: treasuring innocence.

One of the defining qualities of MLP:FiM is its unbridled (pardon the pun) innocence.  In a stunning contrast to just about everything in popular culture, Friendship is Magic contains no vulgar humor or hidden double meanings.  Instead, the show centers around six cute, innocent characters and how much they genuinely care about each other.  They may not be perfect, but they always come around, own up to their mistakes, and reconcile their differences.  Every one of their adventures ends with a lesson learned, and in another departure from the norm, those lessons are consistently morally sound.  Suddenly, the idea that there could be something wrong with appreciating that seems less reasonable.  I believe that men were made by God to have a deep, heartfelt response to innocence and purity.  Picture the father, holding his newborn daughter in his hands.  He wants nothing more than to protect her, to preserve her, to keep her this perfectly innocent forever.  It’s the same sort of thing on a lesser scale, I think, with MLP:FiM.  In the dirty world around us, we are drawn to something so clean and adorable and unspoiled because as men we are made to treasure innocence.  While we are wired to be providers, defenders, and heroes, how can we fulfill that role with nothing to defend?  And why would we defend anything if we didn’t value it first?  We are called to guard the feminine and the innocent around us, so why should we be surprised when we find that we can identify with something that celebrates those same values?

Obviously, there are a lot of interesting anthropological and spiritual arguments that could be made about this strange turn of events, but I don’t have the time or space to address them all here.  All I have to say is, men should never be ashamed to recognize and applaud something that celebrates purity, innocence, and friendship.  Just don’t forget that how you promote those same values in your life is what truly matters, because you’re the one who can really make a difference in defending and promoting the beauty of innocence.

What do you think about the brony phenomenon?  I’m absolutely sure that I missed several dozen angles to the questions raised here, so please add your perspective to the discussion, I think there’s  a lot that we can glean from it.

Oh, and here’s a link to a YouTube channel with all of the episodes if anyone is interested.

The featured image for this post is the property of Hasbro and Lauren Faust.

EDIT:  My heartfelt thanks go out to Myke Greywolf and Choppasmith for your encouragement and for posting a link to this post over on Neogaf.com.  Thanks to you two my little blog has received a record number of hits on March 1st and over twice that many the next day.  It’s nice to see other people appreciate the show for its goodness instead of passing it up because the title sounds too cheesy.

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