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A list o' links

Here you will find a compilation list of the non-Legacy stories in the Squeaky Clean Universe. There will be a separate list for the Legacy chapters.

The links go to the Dreamwidth account.  Right now I don't have linkbacks to my LJ entries either for commenting, or to Boolprop, should you choose. A work in progress, you may call it.

Current work:


Squeaky Clean Renaissance:Collapse )


Completed work:


SC Opera and Killers" Asylum.Collapse )

The co-written slash spinoff between DoctorSupremeNerd's The Vetinari Dualegacy. This is its one comm, currently hosted LJ.  It has much more mature content than SC; be warned.

Reaper Child and Dr. Death: now at over 100,000 words long.

Happy birthday, Marina!

Days late! Sorry--I have been WAY out of the loop. That's what happens when you get sucked into another fandom. But hopefully I shall get back in, and let's start with Happy Birthday!

Tags:

 WELL.  This episode sure was controversial!




[Review. Spoilers!]Yes.

THIS



WAS CONTROVERSIAL.



OH. MY. GOD.

Colorful candy colored magical ponies became colorful candy colored magical FAIRY ponies!  I know, right?
I am filled with disgust. I mean, good Lord, look at those two in the middle!  A pink and a rainbow fairy pony?  Who does that?

I am going to be really blunt here.  It looked to me as though a whole lotta guys suddenly realized they were watching a little girls' cartoon about magical pastel ponies--unicorns, yet--becoming fairies, looked down south, panicked, and had to reach down to see if the old billiards were still there.  And then rushed into the kitchen to check.  And then came hurrying out, laden with wrath and Doritos, to hit their keyboards.  RAAAAGE!

To be fair, it wasn't ALL guys, and it wasn't ALL crazed, but a whole lot of it came from that direction.

I liked the episode.  And it wasn't just because I mostly am easy to be pleased by episodes. In retrospect, there are episodes this season that I could take or leave, and I don't care much about other opinions of them, either.  Rarity Takes Manehattan, for instance, didn't really grab me then, and doesn't grab me now.  I didn't hate it; it just didn't really send me.

I thought the tone and the theme and the subject matter and the main character just all blended together really well.  It was very gossamer and gauzy, and worked so well for a delicate yellow Pegasus who loves animals and embodies kindness. Fluttershy's lessons over a few seasons have been really complex ones about balancing compassion and assertiveness, which I'd pinpoint as very much a female-gendered issue. Be nice, and watch as everyone blows you off.  She's just too nice. But be assertive, and wow, is she ever a bitch! It's all about balancing the interior and THEN having to manage the exterior, too.  I know that in my heart, I don't feel as though I'm a very nice person.  I do things because I'm afraid people will think I'm a bitch if I don't, and by the time I sort it all out, I don't really know how I feel anymore.  And I think a lot of lady-type people feel the same way.  (And MAN do I admire the ones who don't.  MAN.) What a great lesson, learning when being "kind" isn't kind at all, and at the same time teaching the actual value of kindness. Dumbledore said it: it's a very underrated quality.

The Breezies (in case you didn't know, and I wouldn't have), are a revamp of something from a previous generation--Generation Three, I think?  Anyway, like Pinkie Pie and Rarity and Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, they go back a generation and have been totally rethought. Not only are they super physically delicate, but they also have their own magical world that has a portal which is only open for a very short time.  Huh--we've seen that before, come to think of it. So yay, we got a whole new kind of magical pony-like creature. Cries of "they brought it back to sell Breezie toys!" leave me unmoved.  This is where we came in.

Anyway, the opening, with Fluttershy teaching everyone to cheer *softer,* and the by play with Sea Breeze, who scolds like a Scots elder but turns out to have a really good reason for doing so, and Fluttershy's genuine sadness at letting them go, and a glimpse at the Breezie homeland and a Breezie foal, ZOMG--those were all really good.

"But, but, but!  How did Twilight Sparkle just turn them into Breezies like that?  This was never explicitly explained! How could they get all the way across Equestria? Why was her "key" a flower?  Flowers go bad! It doesn't make sense!  HOW HOW HOW?

Here's how:




Dudes, it is a MAGICAL FLOWER.  Please. You have two magical pony princesses who are over a thousand years old running the whole country.

Some legit headscratchers:

1. I wasn't too crazy about Spike being the one to disrupt the Breezie migration and then to have to apologize.  It's not bad here, per se, it's just that Spike blowing it and apologizing and then disappearing happens a little too often. Still, something had to happen or someone had to do something, and they picked Spike.  It's not as though the others couldn't have been the ones to blow it.  Pinkie could hardly hold it together because of the sheer cuteness mass, and Rarity was a weeny bit bright and shiny.

2. The whole "pollen will go bad" thing.  They could have left that out.  It was more trouble than it was really worth and raised more questions than it answered.  I suspect they were trying to sidestep some stuff.  The Breezie migration looks a lot like a butterfly migration (and of course Fluttershy is very connected with those visually.) Most migrations of that kind are so that animals can get to their mating and breeding grounds, like salmon or eels, and a lot of them die along the way or die as soon as they get there.  "They can't stop because the pollen will go bad" sounds a whole lot nicer than "if they stop swimming, they die."




But those were pretty minor, balanced against a whole lot of pretty and a story that choked me up.

One issue that keeps coming up is that when you point out, "this is a cartoon for little girls," the come back is inevitably, "you must have standards! That is no excuse!  It is" (to use one guy's favorite phrase) "objectively bad!"  This guy also insists that EVERYONE who watches the show is a Brony.  "Objectively." Including little kids.  It's so frustrating. Finally, I got tired of it, so I'm rescuing this from EQD, for myself if nobody else.

I try sooooo hard not to copypasta, but I'm going to do it here. This might contain spoilers for the episode, too.

I
[It"s FOR KIDS. Geez.]
t is for kids. There was nothing wrong with the story. From what I can tell, the whining--and it is whining, though not necessarily from you personally--has to do with the appearance of cute little fairy characters and Twilight's use of magic. And inaccurate physics, for heavens' sake! It IS for little kids, especially little girls. This is not about "therefore it does not have to be good." This is about "this is an element of the GENRE."
Instead of asking "what do I, personally, want? what genre do I want? I want it to be adventure/science fiction aimed at my demographic, and it failed to be what I want," the question needs to be "what type of story is it? what elements is that kind of story supposed to have? Given those criteria, does the story do it well?" Therefore--were the characters in character? Was the storyline believable? Was the pacing good? Did we get new elements to the world of Equestria? Was it attractively designed *for its type*? Did it do what it was supposed to do as part of the main story arc? Was there some sort of emotional heft to the story? The only thing I can fault it on, perhaps, is pacing--there might have been a little too much time in Fluttershy's cottage, but I think that was intentional.
It was a fairy story. Characters being transformed into fairies and traveling to fairyland goes with the territory.
I do think you sometimes mis-hear "this is a show for little girls," as "I am not applying any critical standards." The two are not necessarily connected. What I'm suggesting is that with critical standards, one size does not fit all.

AND


Coming from the guy who insists that even the little girls who watch the show are "bronies," I'm not surprised.
It wasn't an "excuse" or a copout. I was saying that I liked it. I say "genre," by which I mean "fairy story," as in Hans Christian Andersen and James Barrie. You mishear this --and I think wilfully mishear this-- as "audience," and you are the one who is collapsing "little girls" into "low quality." I am not. I teach children's literature, for heaven's sake.
This episode is no more wrong or bizarre than "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," and you fail to understand this because you are so wedded to the idea that the show is for you, personally, and that little girls are ride-alongs. This is sad, as there are no rules that say adults can't respond with wonder and delight to something primarily intended for children. I'm inclined to think the world is a better place when they do. I do not expect you to change your opinion, however. In fact, I entirely expect you to respond to what I said in slightly different words.



And then I felt better, except for the part where I don't feel better at all, because I am sick and do not want to suffer fools gladly right now. In fact, I want to laugh at their grief and lamentations, which is why I rubbed my tiny hands in glee when Equestria Girls 3 was announced earlier today.

And that's about it from me!
And it's a Hearts and Hooves Day fic, and it's totally unlike all those other ones that popped up on FiMFiction in the last day or two, I promise. Specially written for a contest on DeviantArt, this spectacularly original idea contains nothing you wouldn't show your gramma!

Party Of Two

BUT WAIT!  Because you have trekked over to my personal blog and gone to all that trouble, there is BONUS picnic CheesePie from a collab thread! I can totally steal from myself, right?

Someday I need to commission a picture of Cheese in that hat.  I always imagine him with a flotilla of hats, but with a Flim and Flam style straw hat for preference. And I have a Wind in the Willows-ish weakness for picnics with gentlemen wearing boaters.

~~~
["Parties are no picnic."]
“Picnic parties,” said Cheese Sandwich, sprawling on his back on a blue-checked blanket, “are harder than they look.”

“I know, I know!” spluttered Pinkie Pie, with her mouth full of cake. She swallowed, and then went on, “I mean my friend Fluttershy, right before Dash’s party was all ‘I love a nice picnic party,’ just because I said that parties were no picnic ---“

“Yeah! I was there, remember? Even picnic parties are no picnic! There’s no dance floor---“

“And you have to get all the food there—"

“And there’s the bugs—“

“And the bears!  I know!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, finishing their mutual sentence. “Of course, it’s a lot easier,” she admitted, rolling a little closer to him on the blanket, “if you don’t invite anypony else.”

“Uh-huh,” murmured Cheese, pulling his straw hat over his eyes. As far as he was concerned, even the hardest partying polka party ponies deserved the occasional picnic party that was strictly private, even the pink party ponies.  Especially the pink party ponies, and most especially this pink party pony, whom he didn’t get to see as much as he wanted to. The sun was warm, he was full of cake, and he could feel how close she was. That high sweet voice, like a handful of holiday bells, was jingling on and on and on, and it was so soothing.  He could listen to it forever, although of course he couldn’t.

What were the odds that he’d meet her again after all this time, and she would turn out to be so sensible and clever, and even better at parties than he was, not to mention very pink and squeezable? He was feeling pretty satisfied with himself, because there could only ever be one Pinkie Pie, and he had her – at least, right now. And he was pretty sure – at least, he was very nearly pretty sure --- anyway, she was the only Pinkie and she was here and that was all that mattered.

“---and then a herd of me ran right through Fluttershy’s picnic and it was all ruined, but she’s a good friend and she always forgives me when I do silly things like that, and anyway, I wasn’t there and couldn’t stop myselves.”

Wait a second. He lifted his hat off his eyes so he could look at her. “Myselves?”

“Oh, right, I didn’t tell you about the time I wanted to spend time with all my friends, and there wasn’t enough of me to go around, so I went to a mirror pool and got a whole lot more of me and me went abso-toot-lutely loco-cakes around Ponyville, including Fluttershy’s nice picnic, but she was great about it and now I don’t need to make a lot more of myself again because somehow I don’t feel as lonely anymore.”

“And how many of you were there?” he asked carefully.

“Oh,” said Pinkie Pie, “about sixteen or twenty.”

Cheese’s jaw dropped.  Twenty Pinkie Pies. Twenty . . . Pinkie  . . . Pies.

“You ok, Cheesie?”  Pinkie Pie waved her hoof in front of his face.  “Cheesie?”

~~~

Fanfiction, I tell you.  Keeps you young.  And keeps me off the horrible irony that I am so sick that I could no more eat a real cheese pie or a quiche than I could personally fly to the moon.

Good choice, kid!

Little girl on Pony charity chat.

Host: Now let's hear from the target demographic.  Who's your favorite pony?
Little girl: (without hesitating) Cheese Sandwich.

Me: (laughing for days)

Tags:



Ponies photographed on a closed course.  Do not attempt.


Not the weirdest thing you’ve seen, probably!
Fluttershy: We’re very good friends, really.
Pinkie: SAY VELVEETA SLICES!
… also, can I be Best Pony this week?
Why, yes, you can, Pinkie, despite the fact that you are an entirely imaginary creation in a cartoon for children.  Amy Keating Rogers, however, is not, and neither am I.
Warning for quoted bad language below. Also, I will be forced to call a certain disgusting fic by its actual name. I do not usually do this, as it feels like free advertising. Do yourselves the favor of not looking it up, because believe me, YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.
[Spoilers for Filli Vanilli, irritation with fandom]

MAN, I cannot wait for the new episode to be out, because maybe then a lot of people will have something new and shiny to distract them. And why?

Because Pinkie made Fluttershy cry.








Yes, I did find that odd, considering the fabulous character development she had two episodes ago, and I felt it was strangely out of character.  Actually, the second one isn't even that bad!  It didn't register as "off" when I first saw it--I thought Pinkie did in fact say "hey, how bad was it really?" and "you were great." She just really sucked at it. When Amy Keating Rogers, who writes the best Pinkie of anyone, insists that yes, it is in character, I think I ought to listen. I might still come away with the conclusion that it didn't communicate as well as it should have, but I'm certainly not going to spout off to her, no less, that I am a better writer than she is.  And worse. Death threats!  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, death threats over a cartoon, and it's not the first time!

What followed the first airing was Pinkie “correction” fics.  Pinkie “punishments.” Pinkie “defenses” ( e.g. “I’m glad she did that, ‘cause I fucking hate Fluttershy.”) Twitter attacks on the show staff. Physical threats made to people online, joking or real. ("I'll have to break the arm of anyone who says anything bad about Pinkie!" "DEATH TO PINKIE FANS!  PINKIE CAN NEVER BE FORGIVEN!") "IT IS ALL OVER!  THE SHOW IS ROONED!" Finally, after I was stupid enough to say something like, “well, if they were real, this would probably end in an apology and a hug, because this is that kind of show,” I got “You must support ‘Cupcakes’ and ‘Smile HD’: you fucking Pinkie lovers are all alike.  You make me sick.” (I am also, evidently, a cunt.)
When someone accuses me of supporting that fic, something that literally made me sick to my stomach for a whole weekend just hearing about it, then they have crossed a line. No, I do not want to pick fights because someone was wrong on the internet, and I’m not going to engage in “we’re not all like that” “yes, you are” stuff, and I have not appointed myself some self-designated White Knight of Internet Purification, but if you’re going to accuse me of liking “Cupcakes?”
—well, buddy, um, SMILE when you say that.

It's not as though Fluttershy hasn't had her little moments:











--and every single one of those reflects something real that is actually in Fluts, deep down.  Don't get me wrong: I sincerely love the character, and I even took her side in both Power Ponies and Bats. She is very much on the side of defenseless animals. I can identify with "why don't you pick on somepony your own size?"

But the reaction to this has been SO WEIRD.  My theory is this, and there have been others who have said this, too (I think Bronycurious, oddly enough!)--people like Fluttershy for the wrong reasons.  They like her as Boo Hoo Fluttershy, whereas actually Fluttershy is fine when she's being left alone to do what she feels comfortable doing. Remember back to Simple Ways?  A lot of people--let's call 'em guys--were calling for Trenderhoof to be smacked down by Big Mac and Spike, a-protectin' their wimminfolk. They didn't quite see it that way, but I sure did.  I thought it was interesting that after Rarity Takes Manehattan, a lot of people took to Coco Pommel, even calling her the "new Fluttershy."  INTERESTING. Not that people liked Coco, because frankly every new character acquires a fan following.  I've done it myself with both Babs Seed and Cheese Sandwich.  What I thought was interesting was the idea that she should be a replacement for Fluttershy, who suddenly went from moe anime girl to the attractive young environmentally conscious woman who made you feel bad about taking her to Sea World and then chowing down on sealburgers. They suddenly realized, "Ho shit, Fluttershy is like that girl from Greenpeace handing out pamphlets and who speaks up on behalf of those poor little brown rats!  I hate that chick!  Quick, let's find another cringing and easily bullied cute pony!"

One thing I sincerely liked was that for once, it wasn't Fluttershy being shoved into doing something she didn't want to do. It was her being conflicted about something she did want to do. We started out seeing her as a musician, for heaven's sake, and it's so nice to get back to that fundamental bit of her character. I also happen to like that style of music.

But the fandom reaction has been so awful that it will be a long time before I can just enjoy that episode.

I'm just gonna re-state this, for my own satisfaction, if nothing else: Amy Keating Rogers is right. Fluttershy DOES still like Pinkie.  And no, this wasn't Pinkie's "revenge" for "Putting Your Hoof Down."  The show is about friendship.  Friends try to work things out.  They love and forgive each other. That will always be the default mode of the show.  That IS the show. Your desire for retribution is not in the spirit of the show, your threats and insults to each other are definitely not in the spirit of the show, and death threats belong nowhere.  Not anywhere, never, none of the time.



So those are my thoughts.  I'm sure I'll be able to enjoy this episode again someday.  Just not today.
This one's a sequel to the last one, Swear on Camembert: It Bombed in Seaddle. Shippy, but clean as a whistle. I mostly write like that anyhow, with the exception of the co-write with docnerd , Reaper Child and Doctor Death, but that's original fic, not fanfic, and besides, there's something about mixing ponies with sex and violence that does not work for me at all.  Heck, A Canterlot Wedding has more whoomph in it than this does.  So if you decide to read it for whatever reason, you won't find anything offensive.

10,000 words of CheesePie later, I think I'm done. No, honestly, I think I left Cheese and Pinkie in a good spot.

The weird thing is that in almost every Pony fic I've ever written -- not a whole lot, I admit -- there's a strong element of early 20th century popular American theatre. That's probably partly because I'm a professor of theatre history, I have a big passion for early 20th century stuff (and if you like Downton Abbey, you probably do, too), and maybe because my favorite Pony tumblr is Ask Vaudeville, although I'm pretty sure that the last is because of the first two.

Seriously, ALL of the characters I feel comfortable about writing, and there aren't many, are Manehattanites with some kind of theatrical connection. I know you wouldn't think of Babs Seed as having one, but I gave her a vaudevillian grandfather, Pepper Seed, who was --- wait for it -- a hoofer. The family still has a book full of theatrical programs and some gramophone records with Pepper and Babs' gramma, Coco de Mer. Cheese has more of a comedian's/magician's/circus clown's background.  (His mom is terribly disappointed about his career path, by the way.) The Ask Vaudeville creator drew some connections with the Great Ponyacci from the IDW comic, but I think I was going there in my head anyhow. Babs' father is superstitious about the word "lucky," for very good reasons. They all use a hell of a lot of specialist argot and draw on details like why you don't whistle onstage. And like I said --

I only seem to be able to write ponies from whatever the Equestrian version of the Tri-State area is.

I'm from New Jersey.  Call it a comfort level thing. 
So you wanna know what I think, what I really, really think?


With Rainbow Rocks, and the direction the show is taking these days, this may be an interesting one.




[Cause it"s waaaay long.]Here is a simple rule to determine if your favorite ship is a canon ship!

1.  Is it Shining Armor/Cadance, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, Twilight's parents, Rarity's parents?
--Congratulations!  You have a canon ship! Anything below this line is not canon. Not yet.  Notice how small this category is?  By definition, anything below this line is not (yet) canon, and since it isn't, it simply isn't worth arguing about.

2. Is it CheesePie?
OF COURSE IT'S CANON.
Just yanking your chain.  It's nothing of the kind. It falls into Category 3.

3. Is it Big Mac/Cheerilee, Soarin/Dash, (maybe Bulk/Shy) and of course Flashlight?
Whatcha got there is *plausible* canon.  That's to say that it might or might not become canon at some point, either in MLP itself or Equestria Girls. That's not the same thing, by the way.  Big Mac/Cheerilee is extremely unlikely to happen in Equestria Girls, as there she is a teacher and he is still a student. You'll notice that Soarin', Flash, and Cheese aren't local boys?  This is intentional, I think.  It's a way of giving them boyfriends who are seldom or never underfoot.  Big Mac/Cheerilee is unlikely to be inconvenient, so it's possible, and I'm definitely seeing hints.

Man, I am getting bored with shrieks of "it's canon, it's canon!" when actually, no, it isn't yet.  Finally I consulted a truly reliable source, the online Magic Eight Ball:

Cause why the hell not, right?  Honestly, people make MORE fuss about this and this is as good of a predictor as any.

Cheerilee/Big Mac: Outlook Good


Fluttershy/Big Mac: Reply Hazy, Ask Again
Pinkie Pie/Cheese Sandwich: Without A Doubt [hah! nailed it!]
Soarin/Dash: Ask Again Later
Twilight Sparkle/Flash Sentry:
--in Rainbow Rocks: Most Likely
--the main show?: Concentrate and Ask Again
--ok, I'm asking again: Most Likely


And HEY: this is faster than any of your silly "evidence."  Pssht.

4. Lyra/Bon Bon, Vinyl/Octavia?
This is Heavy Fanon.  It's so widely accepted that you will have an uphill climb convincing anyone to accept anything else, but it's not necessarily sensible.  Lyra/Bon Bon is at least based on them standing next to each other a lot.  As far as I can tell, Vinyl and Octavia haven't even met. The Pony That Must Not Be Named and Doctor Whooves *might* fall into this category, too.  If the Doctor sits next to Cloudchaser or Roseluck, all hell breaks loose, but there's no reason it should.

5. Anything else, including inter-Mane Six ships, are unlikely to happen.  They could surprise me, but honestly, I doubt it. This is true no matter HOW much they tease it.  The show staff may hint at it all they like, but I would not count on it.

6. Anywhere from a lot to a little grody, in my opinion:

Spike/Rarity: Transcending inter-species relationship? Not sure it can or should be done.  The main problem, though, is that he is TOO YOUNG.  Yes, he is.  Sorry, but he is.  The show's writer place him at around ten years old. Even if you assume that the Mane Six are in their teens, he is STILL too young. And I can't see Rarity as that young.  Pony ages seem to run differently from ours. They're more like Sims 2 age lumps. I don't like getting hung up on this, because I'm not going to write anything that hinges on whether a pony is "legal" or not. My general rule of thumb with fanfic is that it stays at more or less the same level as the source material, or cleaner.  Therefore, my Harry Potter fic is clean, although I once hinted that Lockhart finds Lupin attractive.  Pure joke material. My South Park fic is still pretty clean . . . ish, although face it, it's South Park.  Inoffensive South Park is just about impossible. So yes, it's got some offensive stuff in it, but it's mostly in Cartman's mouth, and since Butters is my favorite character, it rarely even goes there.

Stuff with the CMC:
Even if you grow them up, it still feels weird to me.  I felt the same way with Harry Potter fanfics that looked forward to when they were older.

ANYTHING with Discord.  So wrong on so many levels.

7. Stuff I refuse to even contemplate:
Well, I refuse to contemplate it, so it's hard to say.
~~

As for stuff I like--

1. CheesePie.  Shocked me to the core, but it's irresistibly cute.  As I've said elsewhere, even non-shippers ship CheesePie.  The people who don't, simply do not ship at all, or:

--already ship Pinkie with another character, or
--they are weirded out by Cheese being voiced by Weird Al: totally legit, I think, although I don't see it that way. I don't think of Andrea Libman as being Pinkie or Fluttershy or John de Lancie as being Discord, so I don't see why Weird Al should be Cheese,
--they're too similar.  OK, since Cheese is almost a mirror image of Pinkie, I could see that.  Still, they're not THAT similar.  Pinkie is rooted in Ponyville, Cheese is a rolling stone.  Pinkie is an extrovert, and Cheese is an introvert (yeah, he is.  You'd be AMAZED at how bubbly and outgoing we can seem.  The acid test is whether you're recharged by being with people or being alone or with one or two close people.) Cheese is a city boy, Pinkie is really rural.  And so on. Or,
--they MUST be related.  This, IMO, is stupid.  There is absolutely no reason to think they are, unless you subscribe to the theory that every Earth Pony in Equestria is related to the Apples, and ergo related to each other. Pinkie is totally unlike the rest of her family, although this may be Jossed in the future, of course.
--she's his teacher.  No, she's not.  If that were the case, she'd have to have TAUGHT him, and she didn't.  She didn't even remember having met him.

I insist that this falls into the category of "plausible ship." It might be subtext, it might happen someday, who knows.

2. FlutterDash.  Dash, it's been pointed out, has been shipped with everyone and the kitchen sink.  My theory about that is honestly that she's unshippable.  No, listen.  People always like ships with characters who for some reason are resistant to love. Dash is cocky and egotistical and unsentimental, and that's why everyone wants to have her fall in love. Rowling has a character like this, and it's Snape. *I* had a character like this, and it's why people wanted to ship him so badly with someone, even though they never admitted it to me.

Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash have an interesting relationship.  It goes back a long time, and they're polar opposites.  Dash is much more accepting of Flutters' "weakness" than she used to be. They're mutually supportive.  Art of them is beyond cute.

And they would make a crappy real couple.

3. DaringDash:  OK, there are problems here, too.  One is that Daring is basically a grayscale version of Dash. (Dash may or may not perceive being in love with herself as a problem.)  Now that we know Daring is a real and not a fictional character, we have the problem that Dash really worships her. Plus, it's --purely in my head, I admit--Daring is much older than Dash.  She's been to college, she's written an archeological treatise. Actual backstory, not mine, look it up in the forthcoming Daring Do series. And if she's written an academic piece, could she be considered a professor? She's also written a whole lot of novels. Daring is the equivalent of a minimum of thirty years old.  She's almost middle aged, if in extremely good shape. So--no.

4. Big Mac/ Cheerilee.  Because why not.  I suspect them of being a "canon" couple, but hey maybe they're just friends or Big Mac hasn't gotten around to it yet. And the show is dropping teeny hints about that, too.

5. Sweetie Belle and Button Mash.  Who the heck is Button, you ask?  Good question.  Until recently, I assumed he was someone's Original Character, but he's actually a background pony. He's playing a video game in Hearts and Hooves Day.  The putative "deleted scene":



and it's freaking adorable.  It's exactly what I expect in a "schoolyard ship": sweet, innocent, and with a lot of obliviousness mixed in: my exception to the "no CMC" rule.



Notice the shortness of this list?  Ee-yup. And in most cases, it simply does not matter what does and doesn't become canon.  This is not a romance show, and I honestly hope it never will be.


So there it is: pretty much everything I've got on shipping, all written up for you because I stupidly dosed my cat up with the wrong meds and have to stay up tonight to make sure he's ok. 
<<< best Guest Stallion. Best Stallion right after Big Mac.  Seriously, they'd better bring Cheese Sandwich back, or I'll --- nothing that Hasbro really will care about, so it won't matter.  How about this? I hope very much he makes a re-appearance, and doubly so in the new Equestria Girls movie (and yes, it's been confirmed now.) EDIT: Link to article and actual clip.

Here's my thoughts about shipping ponies:

It's very cruel unless you put little holes in the boxes.  I'm going to keep using that line from Ask Big Mac until I die.

No, seriously:

In fandom terms, what are you going to do?  Stop it? Seriously. I saw someone on FiMFiction actually suggest that everything that wasn't canon should be removed.  They are out of their skulls.  Not only would that get rid of pretty much 90% of the shipfics--and you may or may not consider this to be a good thing--it would also take in everything ELSE that wasn't canon, like the post-apocalyptic fics that Bronies seem so fond of. Don't get me wrong: I would be just as happy if a whole lot of the porn and all of the gore just flat out disappeared, but I'm realistic.  It isn't going to happen, and I'm satisfied if it doesn't show up in Safe Search.  Speaking of which! #SafeSearchWrapUp. Deets here. Basically, on the 7th and 20th of every month, people will go through an image search on Google or what have you with Safe Search enabled, and tag everything that isn't really safe.  Not to nuke it off the face of the earth, but to put it away somewhere kids and other people won't just fall over it. I'm seeing a lot of buy-in to this idea.  If it works, the filters will get smarter and it will be a win-win.

In canon -- I think they're going there.  In the actual show, not just in Equestria Girls.  Whether I want them to or not. Let's consider the evidence, Watson.

I think it's not an exaggeration to say that Equestria Girls, specifically Flash Sentry (aka "Brad") really started a fandom manurestorm.  I know some people were all upset because Twilight was their waifu, but I think some of us liked MLP as a romance-free zone. It was the one place on television that love interests weren't in my face, dammit!  Am I stuck with Cake Boss and Antiques Road Show now?

[More than you ever wanted to know about my thoughts on Season 4, canon shipping, and my dark suspicions.]Is shipping age-inappropriate?  I don't think so.  I watched cartoons as a kid, and I went to preschool with NOAH,  and I dutifully cheered on the canon ships, just as I was meant to.  Underdog has a love interest going with Sweet Polly Purebred, and it's supposed to, because it's a parody of Superman. (Note also that MLP did not invent the Pop Culture Reference.) I shipped Bernard and Miss Bianca in the Miss Bianca books like crazy, even though I didn't know that's what it was.  Speculation about Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Velma was rife in discussions over peanut butter sandwiches. My two best friends and I argued over which was cuter: Spock, Kirk, or McCoy. When we were seven. (I'm almost positive that I was for McCoy. Dammit, Jim!) In other words, romantic but basically non-sexual and often unfulfilled emotions were part of the territory. So it isn't age-inappropriate.  I just kinda wished it wasn't there in MLP, especially since that wasn't part of the original plan..

Flash Sentry, in any case, was really unimpressive. I didn't love him, I didn't hate him, I didn't feel anything about him.  He was much too generic for that, although he did have an electric guitar. I writhed internally when Applejack teased Twilight, in pony form, about her "crush on the new guy." BLARRRGH. Meghan McCarthy swore that Flash Sentry wasn't going to be a character in Season Four.  And I believed her.

The first two episodes didn't really have anything that looked like ships or romance, possibly because we were dealing with potentially world-destroying forces.  Also, stallion guards are really, really dumb. "OHAI, we are guards.  We must be told exactly what to do. WHAT TO DOOOOO."

The third episode, or second, if you're counting that way, did send the ponies in pairs, but I didn't think there was anything particularly shippy there.  In fact, it was fun, because Josh Haber likes writing Rarity and matching off characters who haven't been done in a long time.  But before the episode, Meghan McCarthy tweeted:




Wait, what? Why did she do that? ZOMG the rage I saw on fanboards.  I did think to myself, "oh, blech," partly because I do not ship ponies (but when I do, I ship FlutterDash), but I actually SAID, hey, chill out.  There's going to be little ship teases and stuff, and none of it is ever going to be canon, so c'mon, let the AppleDash shippers have their fun.  Next week, it'll be someone else's turn.  And the shipping thing--that's not going to be canon.  Right?  Right?

Uh-huh.

Next episode:



What in Hades was THAT?  Because that looked like. . . like  . . . like Dash ships Daring with Ahuizotl?  Or she doesn't?  Or I don't even know!  Just . . . what?

And we ended with this thing:



which looked a hell of a lot like DaringDash to me which is another sorta guilty pleasure which I totally do not think will be canon, and I don't know whether that was on purpose or what, but we've just had shipping go "peekaboo!" at us TWICE in one episode.

Oh, whatever, I thought, I'm probably on drugs or I'm reading some people's blogs and borrowing their shipping goggles or something, because this is simply not happening.

Flight to the Finish: No.  Thank Gosh.  And since that was the CMC, there had better not be.  I may or may not get around to stuff I do and don't care for in MLP ships, but the CMC are basically out (except maybe, just MAYBE, Sweetie Belle and Button Mash, but that's 100% cute and harmless). And as we can see, they have plenty else on their plates.

Power Ponies:  Which was fun!  And a quick reminder that Spike totally has a crush on Rarity!  But he always has had, so whatever, and she has functional accessories. Still, the Spike/Rarity thing has always made me more than a little uncomfortable and thank GOSH he is a puppy in the world of Equestria Girls and that better not change.

Bats?  It was all about the bats.  YAY. I think.  I'm pretty much just remembering Flutterbat and Pinkie Pie's mane.  In the fandom, the smackdowns are all about environmentalism vs. farming, and temporarily, at least, shipping has disappeared off the radar, and I am breathing a sigh of relief and beginning to forget about it.

. . . rumblings of EG 2 on the horizon?

Rarity Takes Manhattan plays the Spike/Rarity angle down a lot.  I mean, he's carrying a metric ton of luggage for her, as per usual, but when I think back on it, there is a surprising LACK of stallions getting into traffic jams because she is so cute.  I can remember episodes where Rarity got huge favors just by walking up and paying a lot of insincere compliments to the accompaniment of the Habanera, so at least she's getting returns for being NICE and GENEROUS.  Plus, she does not flirt with Spike; she buys him a hot dog.

Pinkie Apple Pie is so focused on family that people would have to be actively LOOKING for shipping to find it. Frankly, it was one of my favorites, too.

Rainbow Falls!  And I am getting complacent!  Until --

wait, what?






Oooooog where is the cider.  I need the hard stuff. I mean, I hope to heck I am wrong here. Bulk Biceps is awfully funny, but -- anyway, I have convinced myself that Fluttershy sees him as the equine equivalent of Harry the Bear.

Rainbow Dash and Soarin', I've always thought, is what people ship when they are desperate to prove she is not a lesbian. I know, I know, hurtful stereotypes, but whatever, I simply could not see it, since Soarin has always been all about the pie.

***WHAMWHAMWHAM***



Thanks a ton.  Thanks a ton for NOTHING.  Gawd.  That's some serious Ship Fuel up there guys, and it's starting to look almost . . . well, INTENTIONAL.

But thank goodness, we're on to Cadance, and Discord, and I'm sure there won't be any shippiness this week, right?  Rrrrrrright?
-
-wait, what?




WHAT?  Brad?  I mean Flash Sentry, is that you?  Flash Sentry giving Twilight the Big Eye? What?

Uh, uh. . . . it's the animator's fault!  Yeah!  Because we, um, ran out of assets!  And anyway, it was a gag! And Meghan McCarthy didn't know about it!

OK.  Moving on.

Pinkie Pride:

--I think I'm on record as saying that I think of Pinkie as the *least* shippable of the Mane Six.  She comes across as so childish, and she's the only one who still lives with surrogate parents-- but I guess while she's retained her basic kookiness, she's now able to babysit and to dial it down for her friends, and, --ok. Right.

And look!  She has left behind her insecurities and fear of abandonment!





But still, not ship material. Not atall. And thus I am utterly blindsided by what occurs next. I mean, hey, Pinkie and Cheese have a lot in common--



--Including the ability to do whatever the hell this is.



and it's nice to see Pinkie not fold like a card table under pressure.

But still, stuff gets a weeny bit antagonistic.



Just a teeny, weeny bit.  I mean, he did steal her "Smile" song and pretend he had no idea what she was talking about, but still, this seems a little excessive.






Except, except, except--wait, what?



He was -- a shy, miserable colt?



-until he wandered into a party one day and pushed up a jester's hat --


-
-and saw Pinkie?  Like, Pinkie as a filly? Seriously?



And she gave him that rubber chicken?



And he's kept it all this time?



She's his Muse?



OH MY GOD IT IS LIKE DANTE AND BEATRICE BUT WITH PARTY PONIES



AUGH, DROWN ME IN THE FEELS



Snf.  Well played, Hasbro.  Well played. And thus, an OTP is born.


Happy Valentines/Hearts and Hooves Day~
by KakashisChika on deviantART

I WILL GO DOWN FIGHTING WITH THIS SHIP.  Man, even people who don't ship, ship CheesePie.

So---ok.  You haven't sold me on FlashLight, I am lining up to buy CheesePie, and--

Oh no no no no.




Did they actually USE the "C" word?  As in --- crush?

NO. NO. NO. DO NOT WANT.


1620656_811384765545629_826817404_n

Ah, bugger.  Too late.

Not that it wasn't fun to watch Applejack and Rarity play Betty and Veronica, but we're going on thin ice here.



Goddammit. Seriously.  Enough is too much.  This is NO LONGER A COINCIDENCE. A merciful deity/Hasbro/the writing staff hath decreed that in Equestria Girls, Spike shall be a puppy.  That makes this just a tiny bit more tolerable.

The show is clearly Going There.  As I said--not just Equestria Girls, the show.  And I don't really know for sure if I will like it once it's Gone There.



--if I can have more CheesePie, I may, just MAY, forgive them.



WELP, THAT SURE WAS LONG!  --and I am probably the only one who will read it, and I should have been commenting on stuff, but I enjoyed it! 

A lot incoming, but first things first!

I wrote my first Pony fanfic in over a year.  It's called Swear on Camembert, and it follows right after Season 4 episode 12, which is like the greatest episode possibly ever.  Pinkie Pie with Weird Al Yankovic music?  YES PLEASE. Also triggered off my first ever Mane Six OTP, which was weird; something along the lines of "hmm, I think I'll go out and go off roading and finish up with some handfishin'.  Aw, c'mon.  It'll be fun."

Anyhoo, it's very mildly shippy and it has a surprising twist that turns into the one sadfic in the CheesePie section on FiMFiction.  I'm not counting stuff like "Cheese starts drinking heavily" or "Pinkie becomes a cutter."  You can find it here.

I was surprised to find that it was on the Featured Page of Twilight's Library really soon!  I didn't even submit it there.  I think they have a large team sorting through everything promising.

The really nice thing is that the artist, the creator of Ask Vaudeville, gave me permission to use his art for a cover.  I thought it was totally perfect, and offered him a first read if he wanted to, just to check that there weren't any tentacles involved.  He professed disappointment about the lack of tentacles, read it, and really seems to have liked it!

It was the high spot in a busy and mundane week.  I'm over committed and having trouble with some things, but hopefully nothing I can't handle.

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