- BEFORE THE CON : As much as I don’t like to ding a show before it starts, they seem to be a bit unorganized based on their website/schedule issues
- No, brony friends, just because I have apples at the dinner table doesn’t mean I’m razzing you
- Minor drama even before the show started, oy
- FRIDAY : The closer I get to Houston the worse the drivers seem to get
- My GPS was set to ignore toll roads. I forgot I have a TXTag now /facehoof
- DQ down the road from the hotel? AW YEAH
- The hotel seems to have good WiFi, w00t
- A press pass! I feel special
- I liked the little Canterlot Times newspaper thingie
- Except for my badge, I have no pony stuff. I’m always the weirdo at these things
- If your job is to check badges, it might help to take off your sunglasses, dude
- Note to self: You don’t like heights, stay out of the clear elevators
- Furry 101 went well, had a good crowd out!
- Maybe a little too well, I blasted through my material in 30 min
- I kinda don’t want to go anywhere and lose my AWESOMELY CLOSE PARKING SPOT
- It’s a little strange how formal dances have become a thing at cons now.
- Thing I said in the elevator: “Yes, I’m here for the cartoon thing”
- SATURDAY : The day to day schedule thing isn’t that great if you’re a panelist.
- HOUSTON HAS WAFFLE HOUSE YES
- There’s a charity? Need to work on that advertising, guys!
- Sombrero covered with foil; what Mexican conspiracy theorists wear.
- Except for the whole ‘dudes carrying plush ponies’ thing this isn’t THAT weird.
- Thing I forgot: Writing panel handouts. Thank you business center!
- It wasn’t into today that I realized I should probably turn off my YOU’VE GOT *ING MAIL message sound. Oops
- A friend was all GET ME SOMETHING WITH THIS PONY ON IT, and I had to look up what she looked like.
- I have to say, the hotel is in a really good spot, plenty of places to eat around and even some within walking distance.
- Wore my red Wreck-It Ralph short on Saturday and realized if I let my hair grow out I’ll kinda look like the Steven Universe kid. YAY LAZY COSPLAY IDEA
- Not sure how I feel about the whole ‘paid lesson panel’ thing
- Saw another panelist who stood still in front of the audience and droned on and on. Yeah, I think I’m Doing It Right
- Selling is always a crapshoot, Thom Zahler didn’t have any copies of Love and Capes on him, guess I’ll check it out online! Long Distance was very charming, be interesting to see where it goes.
- I am a mite disappointed in the hotel, the early check in thingie in their app didn’t work and I put my ‘do not clean’ sign up at night and they did it anyway.
- Someone I may or may not have known in college recognized me. Whoa.
- E-book panel went well, too, I think I’m getting the hang of this!
- Question during panel: “Was DashCon or Sonic Con worse?” Me: “SonicCon…At least people went to DashCon.”
- Apparently my OC “Big Words” made everyone think of George W Bush…D’OH
- One elevator broke down, wasn’t too big of a deal, though
- Got a letter from a Derpy cosplayer addressed to ‘Someone Special’. ITS SO CUTE I DON’T WANT TO OPEN IT
- A musician got their tail in a knot because there were DJs in a musician panel. Oy.
- No conbooks, a bit odd considering all the art/fiction this fandom produces.
- If the point of the speakers in the flowers were to annoy the bleep put of me, Fission Mucking Accomplished, hotel.
- SUNDAY : Found a button on Friday and turned it in to lost and found on Sunday, I didn’t want it to become my “tell tale tie”
- I didn’t think AJ was going to remember the ‘No Fun Zone” thing he mentioned in our podcast, but there it was!
- Note to self: Always take pictures of cosplayers because likely YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN even if it is a small con.
- I didn’t want to leave early Sunday, but life had other plans. Stupid life.
- Almost made it all the way home on the same tank of gas, thank you Honda CR-V!
Thank you, Disney, for finally giving us a really good movie about video games. Wreck-It Ralph is an homage to all of video gaming, not just the ‘arcade days.’ The best compliment that I can give to it is that you don’t have to know anything about games to enjoy it. Granted, you’ll get more out of it if you have played video games, but they do a good job of explaining how things work in the world behind the arcade screen.
The video game cameos/references/in-jokes all made sense. I never got that feeling of “HEY! LOOK! IT’S SO-AND-SO! AREN’T WE CLEVER!” that sometimes comes with movies like this. Everything just felt right.
Despite being labeled as a kids’ movie, Wreck-It Ralph has some dark moments and is rated PG. There were plenty of funny moments, and I heard as many adults laughing (including myself) as I did kids throughout. I am going to gladly watch it a few more times in the theaters and buy the inevitable Blu-Ray release.
YOU’RE GONNA LOVE IT!
I’ve been hyped up for Wreck-It Ralph ever since I saw the first trailer. While Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a fun ride, it was more geared toward the NES kids that are just a hair younger than I am. Tron and Reboot gave us a look into the ‘world inside the computer’ but Wreck-It Ralph is a love letter to the arcade games many of us dropped numerous quarters into back in the 70s and 80s.
The story centers on the titular Wreck-It Ralph, a “bad guy” from a fictional early 1980s arcade game who has grown tired of playing that role for the last 30 years. He attends group sessions with other bad guys including such heavyweights as Zangief from Street Fighter, Kano from Mortal Kombat, Neff from Altered Beast and even Clyde (the orange ghost) from Pac-Man. In an effort to become a hero he jumps into other games, eventually putting the arcade in jeopardy.
Disney has even gone through the trouble of making fictional posters, TV commercials and even real “Fix-It Felix Jr.” arcade machines. I can’t wait, because the movie just feels right based on what I’ve seen in the trailers. Those of us old enough to remember when arcade games were video games should probably watch this movie, it looks to be a fun one.
This is the second time I’ve written about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, click here to read the first post.
I have friends, both male and female, that enjoy watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and so I knew that I was going to have to eat those peas sooner or later. I just didn’t think it was going to stem from a discussion about time travel.
So I was shooting the breeze with my friend Chris while we were at a pizza joint and I started talking about a story idea I had that involved time travel. As expected, we started talking about media we’d watched or read that involved time travel and the “rules” that they had followed, so the conversation turned to Doctor Who, the Terminator series, Back to the Future, TimeWalker…and then out of the blue Chris suddenly says: “This reminds me of an episode of My Little Pony!”
I did a facepalm, much to Chris’ delight. Chris is a brony, you see, and so he likes to insert My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic into virtually ANY conversation we’re having…or at least it seems that way to me. Much to his chagrin, I still haven’t seen the show but figured what the hey, it was finally time to eat my peas. So we went to my place, fired up Netflix and saw not only the episode in question (“Its About Time”), but I also figured we’d also watch the first two so could get introduced to the show and the characters.
I have to say its pretty good. In terms of quality, I thought that the show was very well done. The characters and scenery were pleasant to look at, if not downright cute. The animation was pretty good, though I could see little instances here and there where it had that ‘Flash look’ to it. I felt the voice acting was very good, and the music fit the action well, with various variations on the main theme throughout.
While it does have some kid’s show trappings, like the ‘moral of the story’ bit, that’s okay. I liked what I saw, I found it entertaining to watch and thought it would be fun for everyone. So it has a nearly all-female cast? Big deal, so did Golden Girls. So its bright and colorful? Big deal, so are Super Mario games. Do some of the bronies need to simmer down and stop shoving it down everyone’s throats? Yes they do, but obsessive fanboys are present in EVERY fandom so you can’t really hold that against the majority of fans who aren’t screaming their love of it from the mountaintops.
Based on the few episodes I saw, MLP:FiM is a fun show for everyone to watch that is deserving of the attention it has been getting, even if the more overzealous members of the fandom tend to ‘squick the mundanes.’
Is it good enough to be deserving of that level of obsession? I can’t say based on having only seen three episodes, so I guess I’ll have to see some more in order to find out…
Uh-oh. This is how it starts, isn’t it?
These long gabfests were eating up my podomatic.com storage space so its off to YouTube with them:
Con Talk 3: Furry Fiesta Pre-Game
Con Talk 4: Furry Fiesta Post-Game
Tomorrow I will be driving up to Addison, Texas for Furry Fiesta along with my friend Chris Holm. While he hopes to get a table in Artist’s Alley to peddle his wares, my objective is to hang out and have fun. This will be the first “furry” convention I have ever attended, and I have received quite a few different responses from friends whenever I bring it up, ranging from curiosity to revulsion and even amusement. I just grin and bear it…ba-doom, tissh.
I guess there is no way to get around it, though. I am a ‘furry.’ No, I don’t have a costume, or think of myself as an animal (the picture at right nonwithstanding). I don’t bark or howl or snarl at people nor do any of the other crazy stuff that the Internet Hate Machine and misinformed mass media would have you believe.
I just happen to like media that features anthropomorphic animal characters. As a kid, I grew up watching Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse cartoons. I enjoyed reading Aesop’s fables and Watership Down. Later, DuckTales, TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck were part of my afternoons and fuzzy critters like Starfox, Ratchet, and Sly Cooper happen to star in some of my favorite videogames.
I submitted an idea that was used in the newspaper comic strip Pluggers, which features animal people demonstrating the foibles and virtues of working folks. I entered a writing contest to appear in a (sadly cancelled) comic strip called “My Cage” which was also completely populated by funny animals. I won and got to pick what animal my character would appear as in the strip. I chose a bear; artist Melissa DeJesus did a pretty good job of turning me into one, as you can see in the picture above. As an aside, the template she used can be found on the ‘About’ page. I also wrote a short story for the Furry Fiesta conbook that stars their jackalope mascots. It’s called “All’s Well That Ends Well” and I look forward to seeing it in print.
So yeah, I suppose I was a ‘furry’ before there was a term for it. No, this isn’t intended to be some big epiphany or coming out or anything like that. It’s just one part of who I always have been, whether you happened to notice it or not. Tomorrow I am going to go to a convention to hang out with a bunch of other folks that happen to like some of the same things I do, just like I do at anime, comic book, steampunk and videogame conventions.
That doesn’t sound that odd now, does it? 😉
I had a…shall we say, interesting conversation with some coworkers about the whole ‘brony’ phenomena at work the other day. I started reading up on the subject upon learning that some of my friends had apparently ‘joined the herd.’
For the uninitiated, ‘bronies’ are male fans of the ‘My Little Pony Friendship is Magic’ animated TV series that are in their 20s and 30s. While the show’s target audience is young girls, it is supposedly of such high quality that boatloads of grown men have become enamored with it. The MLP fans’ obsession with the show and its characters has gotten to the point where they could easily be confused with Trekkies or Whovians or whatever it is extreme Star Wars fans are called. Thus, we have the “bronies.”
As I talked about the bronies with my cube-neighbors (all guys, BTW) the reactions I received were all different: one coworker was amused, another found it to be mildly disturbing, and a third was all SERIOUSLY, DUDE? Yeah, seriously, dude…there is no way anyone could make this up.
A quick disclaimer before I go any further: This is about the fans of the show; I have never actually seen an entire episode of it. I have viewed some of the mashups and clips on YouTube, but I’m flying blind as far as the actual show itself is concerned. Thus, I can’t comment on whether it is worthy of all the attention, but I can’t say that I am not surprised at the attention it is getting, either. The show was developed by Lauren Faust, who has worked on some good ‘toons like Dexter’s Labratory and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Mrs. Faust was asked to ‘reboot’ MLP and took the opportunity to create a ‘girl’s show’ with more in-depth characters and settings.
I’m fairly indifferent toward the bronies myself. If someone enjoys watching MLP, then good for them. Whether it is reality TV, disco, or a cutesy kid’s show, people like what they like. I don’t really plan on watching it anytime soon, but then again, I don’t watch much television these days. The more obsessive fans (you know, like the ones we have in ANY fandom) make me do a Mr. Spock eyebrow raise, but for the most part, they’re harmless.
As a fan of animation, I find it encouraging whenever any animated work manages to capture a following so far outside of its intended audience. Kids are smarter than we think, and media made for them does not necessarily have to be dumbed down. As someone who enjoys animation, I know it can be something that isn’t easy to share with others, but watching a cartoon for girls and owning up to it? On the internet? That takes some stones.
But the question remains: just why are these guys so attached to this show? Is it out of a sense of irony? It is out of a need to hop onto the latest internet meme? Or maybe, just maybe, could the show really be that good? All those factors are probably part of it, but I think that there may be something else going on too; something that didn’t occur to me until I attended a My Little Pony panel at Ikkicon VI this past New Year’s Eve weekend.
I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect at the panel. One friend even went as far as to tell me a horror story about a bad experience she’d had at an MLP panel, but I went nonetheless. What I ended up seeing was pretty much the same thing I see at every fan panel: a bunch of folks getting together to share their love and appreciation towards a work of fiction. The panel could have easily been about Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, or yes, even Twilight.
I noticed there was something different about the MLP panel, though. Everybody (everypony?) seemed to be happy. There was a genuine air of happiness that I wasn’t used to experiencing at a fan convention, where things can (and often do) devolve into shouting matches regarding who the better Captain, Jedi, Sith, Doctor, or vampire is.
I started thinking that just maybe adults like the show because it is good. Now, when I say ‘good’ I don’t mean ‘good’ in terms of quality, but ‘good’ in that it is a positive show. There is so much cynicism and negativity in our entertainment today that just maybe these guys have had enough of it.
Maybe they want something more than so-called “reality TV” and the big egos it produces. Maybe they want to go back to a time before television smashed through the fourth wall and is now unable to tell its audience a story without winking its eyes and nudging us with its elbow. Maybe, just maybe, these bronies want to spend twenty-something minutes in a place where three’s company, or where everybody knows your name, or where loving parents have everything figured out by the time the credits roll.
But the apartment is no longer there, the bar closed down years ago, and the happy TV families have all moved away.
And so they spend those twenty-odd minutes in Equestria.