Double Rainboom: thoughts and review

So, earlier tonight, this came out.  I hadn’t really been following its development all that closely, but I had of course at least heard about it a number of times before it came out.  I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it… from some corners, I heard that it was meant to be a “fan episode”, meaning, something that would feel at home as part of the show, in terms of style and content.  In any case, it came out, and I watched it.  What follows are my thoughts on this work; there will be some spoilers, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

My initial reaction can best be summed up thusly:

3om9u3

It was a smorgasbord of nonsensical meme-dropping and random events connected by… I don’t even want to call it a narrative, the events mostly just happened.  I was left with a distinct feeling of having watched a very pretty, but completely disjointed, mess.  The crossover element renders the work completely incompatible with the concept of “it could have been an actual episode!”  Since, generally speaking, one wouldn’t expect to see a member of the mane 6 get sucked into the Powerpuff Girls world.  But the thing is, all of the above is not necessarily a bad thing… depending on the intent of the work. Continue reading

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Equestria Daily: Possible Disabled Pony Episode on the Way

Possible Disabled Pony Episode on the Way

This one comes from over on Meghan McCarthy’s Twitter page.  It looks like we might see an episode revolving around disability in the future.  Who will be targeted with said disabilities and what exactly it will be remains to be seen.  As far as I know, the Scootaloo not being able to fly thing was wiped out a while back (though was the original plan according to Lauren Faust), but who knows! Maybe they decided to bring it back?

Thanks to Pablo for the submit !

Posted by at 4:00 PM

Link to full post.

My money is on Scootaloo.  I doubt we’ll see Derpy other than as a “background pony” from here on (yes, the “controversy” around the character WAS dumb, but I don’t think the writers and producers want to poke that hornet’s nest again, and I can’t say I blame them).  And even though the current showrunners did seem to drop the idea (as the above article references), there’s no reason they couldn’t bring it back, and the fact remains that as recently as season 3, Scoots still apparently can’t fly on her own.  That option also seems more likely to me than creating an entirely new pony just for this episode.

All of that said, I hope it goes well, if they do pursue this idea (with Scootaloo or whomever).  An episode about a disabled pony could easily be very positive, tying well into the show’s overall message of acceptance and friendship and showing that a disability – while obviously not something that anyone wishes for – isn’t something that needs to prevent a person/pony from having a normal life, experiencing friendship and love, and also (perhaps most importantly), that constant pity isn’t required or wanted.  On the flipside, episodes focused around such themes can also rather easily be botched into being something offensive and hurtful.  Generally speaking, based on what the show has been like thus far, I have confidence that they’ll do it right and would applaud the effort itself, but I can’t help retaining a small amount of trepidation.

Regardless, we have a long wait till such an episode comes to fruition, since season 4 won’t air until this winter.  Unfortunately.

Music of the Week #3

Track:Drain

Album: To the Loveless

Artist: Boom Boom Satellites

Continuing on from Thursday’s review of Embrace, I decided more BBS would be in order for this week’s MOTW.  Because of how this band had just completely dropped off my radar at some point before 2009, I completely missed this album (which came out in 2010), only seeking it out and hearing most of these songs for the first time after hearing Embrace.  But damn, I wish I’d known this music was out there this whole time.  While the ratio of great-to-meh songs isn’t quite as good here as it is on Embrace, the ones that ARE great are right up there with Embrace’s best.  As my favorite track on the album, “Drain” exemplifies this.  Music just doesn’t get more badass than this.

The heavy guitar riffs used throughout (but most notably at 2:30) and the insane drum work are what really give this song its power.  The chaotic, at times disjointed delivery of the lyrics, as well as the content of the lyrics themselves, convey a feeling of literally losing track of reality.  The video reflects this, as well; it’s almost epilepsy-inducing in its use of shifting, flashing light patterns and unsteady camera work, creating this chaotic monochrome lens through which you watch the band perform the song.  (Speaking of the video, I’d understand if that crazy visual style is off-putting, or even hard to watch, for some; in that case, just ignore the video and listen to the music).

I would describe this song as “electronic/rock fusion, with emphasis on the rock”, which sort of makes it the opposite number of “Drifter”.  Those three songs together (“Drain,” “Drifter”, and “Embrace”) form the Triforce of Awesome when it comes to BBS, as my three favorite songs of theirs.  They represent a neat overview in a way, too: you’ve got an intense, more hard-rock flavored song, a fast-paced, more electronic flavored song, and a slow, epic, symphonic styled piece.

Other standout tracks from the album are the hard-rockin’ “Lock Me Out”, the unusual “Undertaker” (at first the “talking” portions just seemed weird, but they grew on me because of how interesting the lyrics are, and the song’s refrain just soars), melancholy electronic piece “All in a Day”, and the slower, beautiful “Stay.”

Album Review: “Embrace” (Boom Boom Satellites)

Album reviews are not something I’m going to do very often, I don’t think, but since this one only came out a couple months ago, and is kind of significant to me, I figured I’d review the whole thing, rather than picking out a track for MOTW.

Boom Boom Satellites is, for those who aren’t familiar with them, an electronic/rock fusion group from Japan.  While they are not especially popular outside of their home country, they do have a loyal if small following in the US. Continue reading

Enough

Tonight, I am not going to talk about trains, or ponies, or spaceships… or Valocea or music or games or anything else of the sort.  I love all of those things, and generally, that’s what the point of this blog is: to talk about all that fun stuff that I like.  But there is something more important than any of that which I’m going to talk about instead, for just a moment.

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments regarding the constitutionality of California’s same-sex marriage ban, marking the beginning of the latest chapter in the Proposition 8 saga, a.k.a. the ongoing battle for marriage equality. Continue reading

Valocea Project – part 4

PART 4: History of the project

So WHY, one might ask, am I trying to develop a fictional country set in the real world with a peculiarly obsessive focus on the transit systems of said country?

I was casually interested in transit related topics for quite a while, but really got into it (as well as into some vehicle fanning – taking some photos and identifying different models, etc.) only within the last couple years.  It was at that time that I found this place, which is a pretty cool site to discuss transit-y things and get information.  In one of the sub-forums, there was a long discussion (which had started years before I even knew this site existed) titled “Anyone create their own transit system?” Continue reading

Music of the Week #2

http://hyperduck.bandcamp.com/track/short-fuse

Track: Short Fuse

From: Dust: An Elysian Tail

Composed by: HyperDuck SoundWorks

This week’s piece is from the amazing soundtrack to Dust: An Elysian Tail.  While I haven’t actually played the game (because I don’t have a 360… though it’s apparently coming to Steam soon.  I don’t have a lot of time for games these days, but I might check it out), I stumbled on the music by random chance a while back while looking for something else (I don’t even remember what).  Really excellent stuff, with a very otherworldly quality to it.  It makes me think of the Secret of Mana soundtrack, or at least, what that OST would sound like if it were made today, with modern sensibilities and modern sound quality.  You can listen to the entire OST by going to this page, and can buy the digital album directly from there if you like it, which I highly recommend doing!

The hardest part about using a track from Dust for Music of the Week was picking a track.  Those that I consider my favorites are all so frakin good that it made for a tough decision.  In the end, I chose this one because it’s one of the more unique tracks, combining orchestral and electronic elements in an interesting and seamless way.  The fusion of those two genres in particular is something I love, and that I always feel there isn’t enough of in the world.  I can’t help but think that this track would make a badass “main battle theme” for a classic JRPG.  In particular, the section from about 1:02 to about 1:52 is just amazingly cool.

Other favorites from the soundtrack are “Cirromon Caverns”, “The Glade”, “Abadis Forest”, “The Blackmoor Mountains”, and “Everdawn Basin”.

Valocea Project – part 3

(Post header photo of Muni’s 38 Geary standby lineup taken by me)

PART 3: Overview of public transit concepts – section B (SATA/Lennvale transit overview, stations and ridership, transit core, modes of service, realism and idealism of the project as it relates to transit)

Part 2 dealt with transit at a national and regional level.  Drilling down further, nearly every major city (perhaps just “every major city”, without exception) has extensive local transit, ranging from surface street city buses and streetcars to light rail and/or subway systems, to express/commuter buses and rail lines.  Bus Rapid Transit has, in recent years, taken off fairly well in a number of cities, and dedicated bus-only lanes are quite common throughout many systems.  Participation in the V-Net program requires that fares be implemented within certain ranges; thus, all V-Net transit services (including VN Transit itself) utilize a zone-based system, with fares increasing with the number of zones one travels through.  The exact pricing is based on the model used by SATA, the transit agency serving the greater Lennvale metropolitan area. Continue reading

Valocea Project – part 2

(Beautiful TGV Thalys photo in post header by Ad Meskens)

PART 2: Overview of public transit concepts – section A (introduction, high-speed/intercity/regional/commuter rail, V-Net, practices & policies)

I mentioned before that in all likelihood, there was one thing that would receive more attention than any other single subject in this project: Valocea’s transit systems.  The reason for this is that my love of all things transit-y motivated me to begin work on my own, fictional system.  Which is actually how this project got started.  That would make for a nice segue into an explanation of… how this project got started, but the whole history of this crazy thing, from original inception to current state, will have to be laid out in its own post, since it would be too long to add it to this one.

What follows here is a run-down of some of those transit systems in their current form.  This part will focus mainly on passenger rail, from intercity to commuter.  Information about intracity transit systems, including those in Lennvale, will come in the “B” section, which will be its own post.  As this entire project is still in a fairly early stage, there are still a lot of gaps to fill in, but that will change over time, of course.  That said, I know a lot more about the nature of the transit systems than I do anything else as of yet, which shouldn’t be surprising after reading the first paragraph of this post. Continue reading