Sunday, August 28, 2016

Two unrelated topics

Extra short episode recap, because I was really "meh" about this week's episode:

The Mane Six are sent off to do something in Yakyakistan. Fluttershy is shown packing earmuffs which I at first thought were noise cancelling headphones because I think Fluts would be all about the noise-cancelling headphones while traveling.

Well, Discord shows up, and is upset about Fluttershy going away because he assumed she was planning a vacation with him (?)

Discord.....I vacillate on him. Sometimes I feel sorry for him, sometimes I really dislike him as a character. He is TOTALLY self-centered ("How many Discords does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, he holds it up and waits for the universe to revolve around him") But on the other hand, he's got a serious case of Rocket the Raccoon Syndrome: "Ain't no thing like me BUT me" and I can only imagine that's awfully isolating.

But he is like that annoying little brother who can't quite understand that his sister sometimes wants - no, sometimes needs - to hang out only with her own-age friends. So he pulls various stunts, including the Epic Opposite Day effect...

"Well, guess what, Sassafras! I'm Opposite Fluttershy....." And apparently Opposite Fluttershy persists for a few minutes after that when she snarks at Discord about "Maybe you're afraid they won't like you?" Yipes, that's really out of character for Fluts so I can only explain it as a hangover of the negative-effect that Discord briefly wrought.

(That said, I can totally imagine myself thinking, "Guess what, Sassafras!" in response to someone's rather entitled request of me. Oh, I'd never SAY it but....)

It just seems strange to me how maternal/big-sister Fluttershy is with Discord. It's like the one area of her life she can be somewhat assertive. Then again - maybe she got some practice from growing up with Zephyr Breeze, so she's used to dealing with manbabies.

The rest of the Mane 6 assembles, and they take off (apparently the trains in Equestria run on time better than Amtrak does)

Fluttershy has suggested Discord hang with Spike and Big Mac, who are having a "guy's weekend" (And I guess we get another guy's weekend eventually; there is supposed to be a "hoofball" episode coming up). There's a funny but awkward scene at the train station....well, more awkward than funny for me because I'm one of those people who worries about "are my friends inviting me on this thing just because they pity me and don't want me to be alone, but they don't REALLY want me along?" and there's a whole reverse-psychology dynamic going on.

As it turns out, this "guy's weekend" is playing Ogres and Oubliettes (Crossover shout-out to the comic series, though as I remember it was teenage Shining Armor and his cohort who played there). Yeah. Ponyworld Dungeons and Dragons.

An aside: I never played it. My friends (the few I had) weren't into it, and also, it was the height of the "is it Satanic or not" controversy, and I admit I didn't want to deal with the possible confusion on the part of teachers and parents and whatnot. (Also I guess it takes a lot of time? I don't know)

So anyway, then Spike - as Dungeonmaster (or is it Oubliettemaster?) starts up the game.

(Squizard, heh. That was kind of funny. I am also wondering if Captain Was is a reference to something I am not getting?)

Anyway. Discord is turned off by such a nerdy way to spend time, and instead tries to interest Spike and Big Mac in a Jazz Age guy's night out, complete with Discord in a zoot suit and some interesting background ponies: There's a Ponified Betty Boop, and a trio I thought at first was supposed to be the Ritz Brothers but maybe not and then HER:

IT'S JOSEPHINE BAKER, GUYS. JOSEPHINE BAKER IN PONY FORM. And they even gave her bananas as a cutie mark! (here is a not-quite-safe-for-work photo of her in her infamous banana skirt). She was an African-American woman (from St. Louis, IIRC) who moved to Paris, found greater fame and acceptance there, and became somewhat of a chanteuse even thought she was perhaps better known for going out on stage not wearing very much at all. She's probably best known here for the song J'ai Deux Amours, which was actually about the US and Paris and not about two men....)

This is another reason why I love this show. A tiny little nerdy thing I know shows up in it. Oh, probably none of the children and few of the adult fans caught it, but it made me smile....actually, it was my favorite part of what wasn't a very-favorite episode.

Part of the reason it's not-my-favorite is that it's mostly Discord being whiny and childish and wanting to make everything about him, and as someone who secretly would like to sometimes make things all about her, but who most of the time just smiles wanly and goes, "oh, of course we can go eat at a Japanese restaurant," and then I wind up eating only fruit out of concern I might get something with miso in it.

And I get it's an important lesson for the child-fans of the show: don't whine and talk about how much you'd RATHER be at Chuck E Cheese's when it's your mother's birthday and she's asked for a nice meal out at the local Mexican place....but honestly, Discord is less interesting when he's being a manbaby than when he's being actually kind of evil.

So anyway, Discord gets really cranky when Spike points out that he and Big Mac don't want the nightclub thing, they want to play their he makes the game "real."

And then it gets a little TOO real....I admit I lost interest here a little bit....Discord being a spoiled brat, making it un-fun for poor Spike and Big Mac, yada yada yada.

And Spike reveals that they felt sorry for Discord....and this is where Discord's personality gets confusing. On the one hand, he thinks he's all that and a bag of chips....on the other he does seem so desperate for the companionship of Spike and Big Mac. He's egotistical, and yet self-loathing. But of course Spike and Big Mac continue to feel bad for him, and invite him back. And Discord does the whole "Fonzie can't say he was wr-wr-wr-wr-wrong" thing. And Spike and Big Mac persuade him to make the game "real" but not, like, "you might die" real.......and then the Mane Six comes back, and of course Pinkie and Rainbow Dash want to join in. Dash as some kind of rogue/ninja thing, Pinkie as a bard? Fits, I guess.

(The pacing on this episode seemed a little odd to me. And also, I do prefer the ones with most or all of the Mane Six present for most of the episode...)


I spent a couple hours this afternoon ripping junk out of the back garden. It had gotten bad. And it amazes me - some of these places I weeded and clipped a month or so ago, and already there are dumb little trees getting started again. You'd think we'd be the breadbasket of the nation based on how well weeds grow here, and yet my food-gardening is not all that successful. (Mainly because of weeds). I THINK the best strategy for the blackberries is maybe just going to be cut and cut and cut and when it dies back, fish out all the bits and try to find where it's rooted and either paint the cut stems with herbicide or just try to dig them out....

I do want, later this fall, to bring in  some soil (maybe I try to find someone who sells topsoil, though that's risky here, because you could get a free fire ant colony included with your soil) or just buy a lot of bagged stuff. And then, right before the end of the fall, plant a lot of seeds of stuff that will be butterfly/bee plants next year.....and hope we have a rainy but not-too rainy winter. I don't know. I want more butterfly attracting plants and I want to get enough perennials established so I don't have to go in on a regular basis and rip stuff out like crazy....I want something that will outcompete all the junk, if there are things that will do that.

I am thinking of ordering a d-pak of the butterfly mix, and one of the shade-mix for pollinators to put in in the back....I used to like to leave spaces open for annuals but more and more I am becoming of the opinion that (a) perennials mean less work long-term and are less expensive once established and (b) the less weeding I have to do the better.

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