Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday evening stuff

* Apparently the poor picture quality was just in the loading step, once the program loads the picture quality is fine.

I watched an episode of the PBS "Secrets of London" series on Selfridges (I think that was the one I didn't see in the program's original run) and a couple episodes of an odd little anime called something like Loki Ragnarok: Mythical Detective. (I wonder how much of the plot is lost in translation, or how much of the American-scratching-their-head-a-little is related to cultural differences. American cartoons seem to be a lot more straightforward and simple in exposition....or at least, in this one, you feel dropped in the middle of a story and left to kind of figure it out)

* I will have to be careful not to run over my bandwidth amount for the month, they send you an e-mail warning you and then charge you more (Oh, of COURSE). I'll have to figure out how much streaming music or video eats up and plan accordingly.

* I started a simple watchcap. One of my friends on CPAAG is doing a charity drive for a couple schools in her area for kids who won't have warm things in the winter. As the send-in date is going to be this fall, I figured I could do at least a FEW things and I had some yarn I bought on sale a while back with that in mind. There's often a shortage of "boy themed" stuff so I'm doing a simple watchcap in bright red, and I also have a skein of hunter orange for a second one. And I have some navy blue Wool-Ease from the stash that I might turn into mittens. (This is one of those "I may not be able to do a lot, but I can do something" kind of things)

* I have a couple pairs of socks going on to work on, and some other stuff. And the couple of amigurumis. I did happen to buy a couple possible appliques for the Mabel Pines doll - a cute cat or a cupcake. The cupcake is just a little large but might still work - I will have to see which one I want to use.

* And speaking of American animation - this week's episode of Ponies was a nicely-done one, in my estimation. The question of, "How do you introduce children to the concept of dealing with grief without the trauma of actually having a character die?" was addressed - Tank the Tortoise (it's a long story) is going to hibernate through winter, and Rainbow Dash is grieving being without her pet for several months (and grieving the plans she had made with him - sledding, playing horse-hockey*)

(*I'm wondering if there's a subtle joke there, kind of like horse-pucky. Which I used to occasionally say until one of my colleagues called me Colonel Potter.)

So Rainbow Dash gets to go through the five stages of grief (Well, "bargaining" kind of took the form of "trying to cheat Ponyville out of having a winter by tinkering with how Cloudsdale works") and did come to the ultimate acceptance that yes, Tank will be gone for the winter and that stinks, but that's how life is.

Another joke I appreciated: the whole Who's on First bit, coupled with the, "Giving ponies noun-based names that could conceivably apply to things in their jobs is not such a great idea" bit. (And the fact that maybe some of the weather-ponies are not the brightest crayons in the box, seeing as Dashie was able to steal the clouds out from under them as they were discussing).

Also: "Fluffy Clouds." Heh. I'm REALLY hoping we see Fluffy Clouds again.:

(From Dr. Lone Pony)

Interesting in-universe things:
- The idea that the weather and even the seasons are totally pony-controlled, and Cloudsdale is kind of a floating city that moves from place to place.

- Running of the Leaves happened again. It's these little continuity-minded things that I love so much because they make it a universe with internal consistency.

- I'd like to see more wintertime episodes but maybe snow is hard to animate? For a while I was wondering if maybe the Ponies just hibernated in the winters (never mind that real horses don't, they just grow thicker coats) and that's why we never saw them in the winter except for Winter-Wrap-Up and the mock-Christmas special.

- I guess Twilight worked the walking-on-clouds spell again so the ponies could visit Dash in her home. Well, the ponies who were NOT Fluttershy  or Twilight (I presume alicorns can walk on clouds just like pegasus ponies can)

At the end, when Rainbow is in Stage 4: Sadness (and I can't help but think of the old Simpsons episode where Lisa named off the stages as she and Bart went through them, though I forget what it was about - probably something silly like not getting to go to Krustyworld). And Dashie is all depressed and in her bathrobe (with Tank slippers, and Tank has Dashie slippers....). And her friends show up and try to comfort her, and Fluttershy goes for the jugular, of sorts, delivering tough love ("Rainbow, your winter is going to be petless.") because (a) Rainbow needed to hear it for real and (b) she "needed to get it all out" (cue crying scene).

I liked this bit a lot. Even though she is the Pony of Kindness, she sometimes needs to use tough love (she learned that on the Breezies, remember? There's that continuity thing again). And it seemed utterly right for the Animal Pony to remind Dash that yes, tortoises need to hibernate.

Another bit I loved: "Applejack cries on the inside." I found it funny but I suppose if you buy the fan-canon that Applejack's parents died when she was young (leaving her to raise her younger sister), there is also a bit of pathos to it. But again: it does seem in keeping with who AJ is. (And I admit, I wish I were the kind of pony person who could "cry on the inside" and not let it show outwardly.)

(Twilight doesn't cry openly, either. Some fans are hypothesizing it's because she can't relate to the situation and doesn't understand Dash's upsetness, and that she's being in her head too much here. I don't know. I tend to think that perhaps more than any of the other ponies, she's grasped that yeah, Tank's gonna hibernate, but no, it's not the end of Tank. Though some other fans have raised the "now she is an Immortal (because alicorn)  and has contemplated her friends' mortality so much that she cannot be moved by the temporary absence of a pet....I tend to think that's overthinking it a little)

But, once again, I stand by my assertion that the writing for this ostensibly-kids' show is better than much of the writing in shows for adults....

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