Monday, June 4, 2012

Episode Synopses in Five Words

So I was warming up my brain to do some writing today, and also having a discussion with a friend on why he should watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I've been watching the show for almost a year now, and have been spreading the love when I find people who like goofy animated things.

He's being recalcitrant, and I wanted to give him an overview of the series. So, author that I am, I made up an exercise to get me thinking, and here are the results: each episode of MLP:FIM boiled down to a five word synopsis.


Season One:

1-01: Bookworms have difficulty making friends.
1-02: Friends help destroy evil deities.
1-03: Pushy friends make life suck.
1-04: Overwork kills sanity and productivity.
1-05: Bullying griffon might be homosexual.
1-06: Twilight Sparkle conquers Celestial Bears. (Alternate: The Great and Powerful Trixie!)
1-07: Kick dragons in the face!
1-08: A Sleepover of Disastrous Consequences.
1-09: Cursed flowers and Zebra alchemy. (Alternate: Always speaking rhymes is difficult)
1-10: Flying Tribbles devour the town.
1-11: OCD and magical weather control.
1-12: No, you're not special, kid. (Alternate: I don't envy their teacher.)
1-13: Why I dislike jocks, demonstrated.
1-14: Episode three, only with dresses. (Alternate: We don't normally wear clothes.)
1-15: Precognition fails to predict Hydras. (Alternate: Freaky psychic incinerates Twilight Sparkle)
1-16: Bravado crumbles beneath self-doubt. (Alternate: Rainbooms are not physically possible.)
1-17: Weak exteriors conceal lethal strength.
1-18: Oblivious children miss the point.
1-19: Slaving canines defeated by whining. (Alternate: Rarity is a manipulative bint.)
1-20: Everything that's wrong with fashion.
1-21: My Little Racism: Wild West (Alternate: Racism? In My Little Pony?)
1-22: A phoenix trolls almost everyone. (Alternate: The Princess trolls people also)
1-23: Everybody's backstories, all at once.
1-24: An owl trolls Twilight's dragon.
1-25: Pinkie's brain breaks. Creepiness ensues.
1-26: Everything goes horribly wrong simultaneously.

Season Two:

2-01: Star Trek's "Q" invades Equestria. (Alternate: Star Trek plus ponies? Winner!)
2-02: Mindrape solves all friendship problems.
2-03: OCD almost causes children harm.
2-04: Halloween isn't fun for monsters.
2-05: Lying to children solves problems.
2-06: Eating weird plants solves problems. (Alternate: Children immune to Darwin's Law...)
2-07: Bravado, musicals, and epic tortoises.
2-08: Mostly Batman as a pony.
2-09: Apparently High Society engenders snobbishness. (Alternate: Rarity finally gets character development)
2-10: Draconic King Kong parody, ponified.
2-11: Electric apples teach elder respect.
2-12: Silent Hill while babysitting toddlers.
2-13: Boring world-building backstory episode.
2-14: Lying might get you murdered. (Alternate: Disappointing friends is really rough.)
2-15: Con men and hard cider.
2-16: Indiana Jones meets Solid Snake.
2-17: Drinking poison on Valentine's day.
2-18: Pinkie has freakish paranormal powers. (Alternate: Taunting bald people? You jerk.)
2-19: Minotaur self-help guru fails.
2-20: Time travel always engenders paradox.
2-21: Are all adolescent dragons intolerable?
2-22: Weather control via feathered equines.
2-23: Pony Journalism, including J. Jameson.
2-24: Three simultaneous parodies, plus Sherlock. (Alternate: Ponies with no self-control.)
2-25: And suddenly, a big brother.
2-26: Disney got nothing on ponies.

...whoo, that was fun. Now to do some actual writing.

BONUS ROUND: Do this same thing, only all five words must be ALLITERATION OH NOES

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lightning Cracks the Sky

One thin line of white
An incredible power, the magnitude of which
could power a city
for a few minutes
depending on the city
or completely destroy a car
depending on the car

Nevermind the total blackness.
"Lightning," as the name implies
brings its own light to the party
Shining, as it does, through the grey clouds.
The same clouds take their color from the same grey that they always are,
But of perhaps some drifting arcane sort in the briefest of flashes
from which many metaphors have sprung, but which
no matter the source, rhyme, or meter
do it no justice at all.

And some look up and say OH WAAAW
and some OH MY GAWD
and others use, in vain, the name of the one whose plaything it is
and shout JAYSUS

For even inebriated as they are, the denizens of the street
cannot think of any other words to describe the majesty that rends the sky
That treads upon the borders of containable energy
(or is 2 months powering a lightbulb too much?
Or is 500 megajoules a number that makes the mind number?)
Discharges of electricity that can crack the sky, or shatter mighty trees
fill the clouds with light in the dark, and fill the onlookers with awe

And the thunder rumbles
And the thunder rumbles
And the thunder echoes
Until the whole sky is full of it
Until the whole sky is full of sound and fury

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

For if a lightning bolt, third level, sorc/wiz only, caster level infinite
can spread across the sky unchecked
And if the thunder rolleth, 'cross a sky unimpeded by the strongest works of man
Then who are we
such as we are
Are we?
To deny the power and the glory and the wisdom and all those nouns
To the one who laughs as I do
As the lightning cracks the sky?

UPDATE: What? There's a video version now? Epic! Or not.

Monday, April 2, 2012

On Nature

Whoops. Hello there, neglected Blargh. I should really post here more often. Therefore, here are 1,116 words on the topic of “Umwelt," which honestly make me sound like an environmentalist. But really, how can you not be? The natural world is such a complex and amazing creation that anyone who takes a close look at it can't help but be amazed. This post inspired by XKCD, and produced by Sailor Jerry’s, Nero’s Scorpions, and an evening off.


Imagine the snake: a long, limpid line of slithering, slinking scales sliding sideways upon the greasy green grass. Not just the narrow fellow in the grass, he of Dickinson fame, no, he is more. This narrow fellow sees in infrared. Heat excites him. It is not the resplendent red of the rose, nor the genial green of grass that he seeks. He seeks the vibrant violet of miniscule mammals, scurrying softly beneath burrows of empirical earth. Such heat is life, such life is heat, and before the rodent knows, the violence of the voracious consumes the vole. This is the world of the snake.

But imagine instead the bee. A bumbling insect, aerodynamically impossible, gathering the nectar that feeds, and unintentionally spreading life beyond the miniscule scope of its finite and squishy mind. Beneath the hard and fuzzy carapace, the bee thinks of nothing beyond the hive, beyond the nectar, beyond the instinctual urge to visit that radiant, resplendent rose. Its sweet seductive scent is a siren’s song, a story of succulent sips and a tale of tantalizing tastes. In goes the bee, open go the petals, sticky goes the pollen, and life begins again, just as the bee visits another flower.

The flower remains. A rose: romantic to the root but with thorns to the thick of it. To a rose, there are no wonders of the world; there is only light. Light is life, water is wealth, and soil is sustenance. To draw up the very essence of life from the simple soil is no minor miracle. It is a daily dose of a delectable, delirious diet. From what great spring do such things come? Simple spikes of satisfaction add to the sharp spikes already present on the pointy plant. Only one thing remains: reproduction. But that is not the purview of the plant, but more the business of the bees. The potent pollen that permeates is a sneaky solution to the rigors of reproduction. With a lucent, liquid lure, bribe the bee to pass the pollen to some other rose, another in the chain, and life begins anew.

Shying away from the snake and ignoring the bee, imagine the rabbit. Its life is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of loud noises. Fear of the snap of the twig, of the thump outside its sight, of the breath of another creature nearby. The slightest sound sends sacrilegious shivers showering through its spine and provokes the sensible scamper away from the sound. Disturbing the resplendent rose, or adding atrophy to the aerodynamic aerial attack of the busy bee ‘gainst the earthbound ethereal energy of scent, matters not to the rabbit. It must run. Must hide. Must survive. It barely has claws and teeth, never mind fangs or talons, and every hollow log and divot in the turf is its hiding place. The roots of a tree are a roost, the curvaceous carvings of a shallow stream are a sanctuary. From hiding place to hiding place the rabbit darts, to get to its mate, to its family, to produce many litters of many more. It runs to survive.

High above the rest, imagine the bird. This is not just a bird; it is a patriarch of proud parti-colored plumage, magnificent and majestic in the lingering light of the setting sun. Bugs buzz in abundance, food and fuel between berries, and another easy escapade in seeking sustenance. Aware in the air, the starling stares down at the brouhaha below and wings westward, finding the Hymenoptera hilarious, though terribly tasty, laughing at the lagomorph and snickering at the serpent. The sky is silence and sanctuary, starvation and supply. It is never empty but always the domain of winged warriors who take trinkets and reap rich bounties of berries, bees, and snatch sustenance from the jaded jaws of the deplorable dirt.

And imagine I, imagine me, the human, the lord of all it surveys. I am me: the cantankerous creature, likely limited in its omniscient observation of my natural neighbors, overlooking it all because I am the highest order of creature, or so goes the high lie I tell myself. Barely bothered am I by the bright-burning bird, that particular pest of Idaho’s ignominious expanses of willy-nilly wheat. I deem them a pest, and ignoble invasion, because I was told that they were: several species of wicked weeds, belligerent birds, and malignant mussels bear the burden of such turbulent titles. But I am human, delineated to dominate and denominate fowl and flower, and their crime of unbelonging is a song of limitation and eradication. It is our fault they are alive, our fault they thrive in places and spaces where they do not belong, not for long. And it is we who bear the weight, the common sense to exterminate, and undo the damage that careless opinion has done to our dominion.

Imagine me as I look upon the pest, and more, not just the bird but all the rest. For the sake of the snake I write these lines. For the chance that the habits of the rabbits may yet trip a tender nerve or serve to remind the lords of crimson chords that the life they tend is not their own, I will write always of the bright lights that feed the need of the stationary plant that can’t fight against us nor protect itself when in need, nor call upon the bee to be the knight nor squire nor seed that it needs. And when we soar above in love and care for the world that we share, and have heard, like the bird, the calls of all those below us, pray that these things are signs we do not ignore, nor make us snore, that we ward what the Lord has given us. We are the architects, meant to mediate the effects, meant to ward and protect those lesser than us from the aggressor that is us. The Lord giveth. The Lord commandeth us to have dominion, and ‘tis my opinion that when He says replenish He means to keep it full. If not, the Lord taketh away, and then what is it we own? A shell… ideas… a void… a clone? Making something out of little is hard, indeed. Making something out of nothing is harder, given not a scrap of matter nor a seed (and of a seed there is ever a need.) But even as easy it is, we must not make nothing out of something. Burning, shining, a differential, uncertain potential are we. Let us become it, you and me. And if this is true, then forever we shall be: three in one, and one, and two, and an infinity, and three.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

That Trailer Park Smell

There is a particular aroma I have often found in trailer parks. It is a unique odor that seems, to my untrained nose to be one part pets and pet by-products, one part insufficiently cleaned carpet, one part beer one part tobacco, and one part insufficiently cleaned people. Though the scent varies from park to park and even mobile home to mobile home, I have smelled its variants in several places in Moscow, a few places in and about Priest River, and even once in Michigan.

This isn't meant as a slight upon the people who live in trailer parks. From what I understand, the rent in some of them is pretty darn cheap, and inexpensive rent would be a shiny thing for me right about now. But with a very few exceptions, the trailer parks around Moscow area are pretty sketchy, rundown, and oh yes, odoriferous. What's interesting is that this nasal assault is immediately recognizable even outside of its normal context. The other day, while driving the hospital's bus around, I had to take two people home after a surgery. Upon meeting them, I knew by smell that they lived in one of the area's trailer parks. Not which park, mind, but one of them.

No, I am not familiar enough with Moscow's trailer parks to identify them by smell, and God willing, I never will be.

Laser (Pointer) Tag and a Good Monster

I really, honestly wish I had a video to show you of the hilarity that is Laser Pointer Tag. But I don't, because I don't own a camcorder. Instead, I shall attempt to describe it.

So, I live right in the middle of downtown Moscow, and when the drunken "woohoos" and "yeeeeahs" of the Friday night college students wake me up from my peaceful "have to get up at 6 a.m." slumber, I exact my delicious and hilarious payback. For my birthday last year (March 2, in case anyone cares), my parents got me a gift certificate for, a fine purveyor of the silly, inane, and awesome. With this, I purchased a number of objects, one of which was a green laser pointer. Unlike the ubiquitous red laser pointer, the beam that emanates from this model can be seen clearly in any lighting condition dimmer than broad daylight. The dot at the terminus of the beam is a brilliant green and thus a relative oddity to the inebriated Friday night crowd.

Thus was Laser Pointer Tag born. When Friday's noise inevitably wakes me up, I clamber out of bed, grab my green laser toy, and off to the windows in my apartment that border on the street. From there, I can tag any number of "under the influence" college students, or run the dot around in circles, or put it on someone's back, only to turn it off the moment they begin to look up. It's especially hilarious when the object of my jest blames someone across the street and makes "I see what you're doing there" gestures at them. Only once have I been caught at my silly game, at which point the victim shouted a few choice obscenities concerning my nether anatomy, and then continued on his way.

This is, of course, immature. But what manner of practical joke isn't? This kind of thing comprises the majority of the jollies I get these days. If I can't make fun of the stupid kids of which I once was, what can I do? Thanks to my little brother, I have a defense against what could happen if a drunken jock doesn't get the joke and storms up to my apartment to exact petty revenge, but I don't think that will ever be necessary. Most people just have fun with it. A few people have even chased the green dot around the empty Moscow streets like tipsy cats. It's good, clean fun, and hurts no one.

On a completely unrelated note, I found a Dubstep (translation: especially twitchy Techno) video that makes you really root for the monster. It's Skrillex's Equinox: First of the Year, and the official music video is amazing.

The bass unit that I picked up second-hand at a yard sale is amazing for this song.

If you want "lyrics" of a sort, my recently-married little brother found this edition for me, which is uncanny in its accuracy, and has improved my own totally sweet dance moves and lip synching, which I will show you all as soon as I acquire the aforementioned camcorder (probably from my brother as well).

Hilarious, but a total failure as a sing-along video. Anyway, that's it. I have to go to work in four hours. Huzzah for insomnia, right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Of Marriages and Mashups

Whoever thought of throwing two completely different things together to make something more awesome by their joined forces, of making the melody and harmony from two different genres and backgrounds, is a genius. Who would have thought that Kanye West and Rihanna would have sounded great when mixed with Johann Sebastian Bach's Tocatta and Fugue, or that my little brother would ever find a girl who found him attractive and wonderful?

Because I never figured that in the same year, I would actually like something by Kanye West, and also see my bro get married. Both of them boggle my mind a bit.

In case the reader is wondering exactly what the author means by this, bide your time, the explanation is forthcoming. The piece of music in question is called "Run this Town and Fugue," a mashup of the Rihanna/West song "Run This Town" and Bach's "Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor." Here it is on Youtube:

Warning, minor profanity, because it's still Kanye West, who doesn't seem to be able to produce a song without any in it.

This mashup is done by the duo "DJs from Mars," and is one of four or five truly excellent mashups they've done. I bought an album of just their mashups, actually, and it was worth it. It's good solid electronica, especially if you're familiar at all with classic 80s electronica by groups such as Bananarama or Soft Cell. Then you actually know both the songs that are being combined, and enjoy it more.

Also, it's now been a week and half since my little brother Alex got himself married to a wonderful gal who's a mutual friend of ours, Jessie Rosenthal. We've known her for years, and that he asked her to marry him didn't really surprise me that much. It was a surprise that she said yes, but not too big of one. See, he and I have both grown out of the children that we once were, the children who were at each other's throats near constantly before their departures to assorted colleges and/or corners of the United States. He grew out of being obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious and getting pleasure from irritating me, and I grew out of the hair-trigger temper and nano-particle thin skin. Now when we see one another, there's bear hugs and fist bumps and "watch this sweet dubstep video" and "let's go shoot my Glock."

But there's still this sense that he "beat me" at the whole "find your soulmate" thing. Pardon the overuse of quotation marks, but since I know there's not a real way to win except by finding them, or lose by not doing so, it's probably just petty whining on my part. But couple this with the somewhat existential flavor of lonely I've been feeling recently... let's just say the wedding, while short, sweet, and beautiful, didn't help me much. But it wasn't FOR me, I keep telling that fat inflated beast of an ego I have. It was for Alex and Jessie. And I'm genuinely happy for them. It couldn't have happened to a nicer Elven princess and obnoxious little twerp.

On a completely unrelated note, I now have a shiny new black fedora. I can once more terrorize Moscow with my awesomeness. Thanks Grandma!

On a note further unrelated still, I now own a Talking Princess Celestia figurine by Hasbro, bringing the total number of My Little Ponies I own up to two (neither of which did I buy myself). Again, for some reason, thanks, Grandma. I'm sure she chuckled a bit while packing this in the same box as a suave fedora. Now to find a way to spray paint the figurine white like she is in the show without ruining the mane, tail, and wings...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Musing

Well, since it has been almost an entire year since I posted something on this blargh, I should probably update it. Seeing as how I'm graduated and all now, it shouldn't be too hard to post something every couple of days, yeah? So here's this rambly thing I wrote last night at 2 A.M. after standing out in the wind in my pajamas and slippers for twenty minutes. It's emo tripe as far as I'm concerned, but it did have the remarkable side effect of breaking the case of creative writer's block I've had since the tail end of last summer.

Emotional rambly tripe follows:


These scribblings and ramblings that I write, they are not art, no form of literature. No, rather they are the musing of one who oft wakes from blister-packed dreams, pixellated hope, and a blindness to the world that can only be brought about by technology. Though I see sights international, riots and revolutions, sins and scandals from Oklahoma to Oman, Louisiana to Libya, I do NOT see the beauty in my own back yard. A thousand explosions of light and sound scream at me from LCD screens and Dolby Surround speakers, but only when the power goes out do I stop...

Stand on the rim of a dry fountain

And listen to the wind, feel it wrap around me, ripping through my clothing and folding the cloth about me like the sail of a foundering ship. The wind is my friend, and as I stand there, I am a lord of storms. None can truly take the wind from me: North, South, East, West, these are not the wind, not all of them. Even if I were shut in a sightless pit, the wind passes through me.

In. Out.


In. Out.

A chain of lights in hibernating trees. Two lovers holding each other up against the attacks of the Aeolian and the Alcoholic. The terrific gusts knocking down Christmas decorations left up a day too long.

Do I join them?


I belong with the wind. Maybe some time I can drift among the trees, race across the grasses and wheat fields of the Palouse, skim the rims and ridges of indifferent buildings, shops and apartments and hospitals and bars and


into thin air, swirling madly about, not caring who sees or what they think. I will be the wind, not a batty twenty-something who cleans toilets and drives a bus.

Not someone who, to escape the mundane of the "real" world, inundates himself with the fake smiles and colored lights of the immortal, immaterial, digital frontier. The dragon slaying, the laser rifles, the fireballs and time travel and nanomachines and Elves... I make my home away from reality amongst these. But these are worlds men are not meant to stay in. Not for long.

Not when I could, without removing myself and sequestering my thoughts outside my mind so I cannot hear them, or worse, let them hear me, find the "real." Not when, because of my infatuation with the Information Age, I can't see the beauty of the world. All the imaginary worlds crammed into my mind obscure the real world, art imitating life, art replacing life, art destroying life.

Let's play pretend, you and I. I'll be the Hero, you be the dragon, okay? And she can be the Princess.

Oddly, sometimes I feel like the Princess. And no, that's not a statement about sexuality, that's a moment of empathy I'm having with the endangered dames, the damsels in distress. Like them, I'm waiting for something.

What, though? Something I'm not sure is coming? Ever?

Maybe, as I start another paragraph of this rant and another metaphorical page in my life, the problem, and I start with a maybe because the uncertainty is a part of this as well, maybe I don't even know what exactly it is I'm looking for. I hear drunken laughter from the flat next door. The two lovers have gone home, laughing and swearing and listening to Rush songs at a hundred and twenty decibels. And they are terrible at karaoke.

Is that what I want? Do I offer up prayers for that kind of companionship? Someone I can sing poorly with and they won't mind the botched harmony because it's me singing it? Someone who blurs my troubles away, more with kindness than with distilled spirits? To be able to grab a quilt and lie down on the couch with them and just... listen to the wind?

Like the wind itself, that might blow me away.


There's always a but.

Is that what I'm looking for? What I want... what I want right now is for the lovely couple who lives next door to turn their music down so I can hear my own thoughts, let them hear me, and hear the wind sing me to sleep. I'm not a lord of storms, as cool as that would be. I'm just another guy, done with the education he was expected to complete, and yet, finding that he's learned only that he knows nothing, really, and that his head's as empty as the street outside his window.

Empty, except for the wind sweeping through it at the speed of thought, carrying with it dreams and new ideas for my own little make-believe worlds., this really sounds emo. But writing it down made me feel better. That's the definition of catharsis, is it not?


And now, for something completely different! BATMAN IS A BRONY. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.

Art by the legendary John Joseco