Saturday, June 18, 2016

Thoughts on MLP season 6, part 1

The Crystalling
It was alright. How do I feel about the baby being an alicorn? Neutral. Personally, I don't mind overpowered characters, unless they're poorly written. I liked that she was the unwitting villain here.

It was odd to see Celestia and Luna defeated by bad weather. I know it wan't just the weather, but really. I'd expect more from creatures, who can move the Sun and Moon.

I liked Sunburst. Though it seemed a bit stupid that Starlight didn't guess what was going on. I like it when characters catch on to things as quickly as the average viewer. They just come across as dim otherwise.

"Now, kiss," thought most of the fandom.

The Gift of the Maud Pie
The story was very primitive. Personally, I hate the "Gift of the Magi" trope. Saw it coming from miles away, even though I haven't noticed it's in the title.

But such episodes are all about the journey rather than the destination. And the journey was quite fun, so it's a good filler.

What? It's an excellent place for Rarity's boutique.

On Your Marks
Not a fan. The CMC got their marks in an earlier episode and sang a song that said they knew exactly what to do with their lives. The start of this episode felt like a major step back from that. Apple Bloom especially. She knew the little colt needed help from CMC, wanted help even, but she just totally ignored him.

The episode had a handful of good jokes, but I found it weak overall.

I still wish they went with the name Snowflake for this guy.

Gauntlet of Fire
Beyond predictable, but watchable.

Hug every dragon you meet, but don't tell them why.
That was my favourite part.

No Second Prances
I thought it was good. Twilight was crazy, Starlight - relatable, Trixie was... well... Trixie. And Celestia clearly had the time of her life at that dinner party.

Also, I liked how Starlight spoke of stage magic as something separate from regular magic.. So I guess it's an art form and Trixie is better at it than Twilight.

Go home, Twilight, you're... erm... Just go home.

Newbie Dash
Not a fan. I get the idea of team spirit and pushing yourself to your limits, especially after you've proven yourself. But... taking crap from others for tradition's sake... Really?

But I did like that Dash is apparently cured of her random inability to retain information. I liked her being a nerdy fangirl, geeking out over every inch of the compound. I thought that was spot-on.

Also, the impressions were a weird move.  Not buying it.

A Hearth's Warming Tail
It's a very good Christmas Special. Very cozy, the music's just right and the costumes are pretty neat.

The coolest part by far.

The Saddle Row Review
I liked it. The format is definitely interesting. It was nice to hear the ponies as they were individually interviewed. Wasn't flawless - I guess trying to make a lesson out of it is the reason. But it's still enjoyable.
That diner looks like a nice place.

Applejack's "Day" Off
Not a fan. I can understand that inefficient ways of doing things can become a habit, but AJ was full-on stupid back there. Also, Rarity's way of mending fences seems wasteful.

That colt look fabulous enough to be a Sailor Moon villain.

Flutter Brutter
It's a good episode. Meeting pony families is always interesting and Fluttershy's brother sure is something.

Oh, the agony...

Spice Up Your Life
I liked it. So many cool visuals in one episode - neat new characters and cool new restaurant. And also Pinkie's table manners - I like how she headbutts plates.

Can't help but wonder if Pinkie knows about the possible
future consequences of eating really spicy food...

Friday, June 17, 2016

DeviantArt ads

So DeviantArt recently realized how much money they're losing on the ads people block. When you visit the website now, you're greeted by an absolutely huge orange pop-up that stretches all across the bottom of the page:

I find it too annoying to display full-size.

Whitelist? I don't think so.
Now, it's adorable that they think I simply don't know how to whitelist good old DA. 

I won't claim this is still the case, but some time ago, DA had abnoxious video ads, which, to me, were the signature feature of the site. The kind that had sound, but were muted by default. Now, there was a glitch. The ad could be silent for a couple of cycles, then it would suddenly scream at you. A real treat if you've got multiple tabs open.

Well, they were the reason I got AdBlock and I never looked back. So no, DA. Giving me a giant orange pop-up to close every time I open the page won't melt my horrible cold heart.

The words I want to hear are "We've made our ads less annoying".
If the horrible orange pop-up said that instead, I'd immediately pause AdBlock to see if that was true.
And if they actually went the extra mile and only accepted static banners with mild colours, I'd whitelist the site in a heartbeat and feel some gratitude for the care.

Back to reality - the orange pop-up
"Blocking ads? The joke's on you! You get the biggest and most annoying ad on the site for trying to cheat the system!"
That's the actual message behind it, right? If they honestly want sympathy and understanding, I think they should learn from Explosm. Their "blocking ads?" banners are very humble, but get the message across perfectly. Plus, they show you exactly where the ads would go. I have whitelisted their site.

Reporting ads.
Every site I've whitelisted has this option. Explosm has a "Report Ad" link. Other sites, such as EQD, have little buttons on their ads that let you both report scams and remove things that are irrelevant to you. I don't know about you, but I don't mind seeing adverts for things I'm at least mildly interested in.

And what does DA have? A little red cross at the corner of the ad, which offers an upgrade to premium. I'm not sure if they're still showing "local mom discovers one weird trick" ads, but they did for a good while.

Won't somebody please think of the users...
I feel DA just said "it's your choice - be annoyed by tiny ads, the giant orange one you'll have to close manually, or buy premium". If I felt they've put honest effort into improving the user experience instead of being forceful, I'd at least try to live with the ads.
So far the only good thing about DA banners is that they mostly fail to load in mobile browsers.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Jelly Blobs of Doom: the trophy guide

This is a Neopets game

My high score is 10,198, which got me the first place trophy. Here's what it looks like:

The basics:

I would recommend checking out Jellyneo's guide for that, since mine is aimed at somewhat experienced players.
However, here's a quick summary:
  • You're a dinosaur made of jelly, who eats jelly and can get eaten by jelly.
  • You can eat anything smaller than yourself, anything bigger will eat you. The more you eat, the bigger you get.
  • Use the arrow keys to move.
  • The "floor" is slippery. This means you can drift (fun!)
     Also means you can lose control and slam into a giant blob of jelly,(not as fun as it sounds).
  • There are no "walls" - try to run off the screen in any direction and you'll come back in from the opposite side, Pac-Man style.
  • It's best to stay in the middle of the screen - a big blob might quickly and unexpectedly show up at an edge. Also, if you run off the screen, you may hit such a blob on the opposite end.
  • There is no time limit. 
  • Type fishnegg or rainbownegg to make these neggs appear on the screen. When collected, they grant 50 and 20 points respectively.
  • Button mashing can summon a giant blue jelly, which takes up most of the screen.

How you win the gold:

This game is a classic example of "easy to play, hard to master". How do you get to the top of the high score table? Easy:

Eat the biggest blobs you can.

Seriously. That's the only way you'll get that first place trophy. 

Why? Simple.

There's a limit to the amount of blobs you can eat.

Some guides suggest starting to eat big blobs only when you yourself become pretty big. This approach might be better for your nerves, but I'd suggest stepping it up a little:

When in doubt, avoid a blob if you know you can eat bigger ones.

So what's so nerve-racking about always going for the biggest piece possible? Well... from what I understand, the blobs don't have set sizes they increase or decrease to. They change colour as they get bigger, but you won't see 3 recognizable sizes for each colour, for example.

Here's what I mean: the two blobs in the picture look about the same. However, you can eat the lower one. The one higher up will eat you. It can be pretty hard to eyeball. So I'd say see how much you're willing to gamble.

You can play it safe to a degree and still get the top score. For example, both of these blobs are safe to eat. The top blob here is too small to be worthwhile, while the one below it isn't a bad choice for your current size. If the difference isn't too obvious now, it will be after you've played a while.

Bonus tip:

The less space you take up, the easier it is to dodge blobs. And you take up the least space in front view. You turns this way when going down.

The view doesn't affect which jellies you can eat. It's a pose you might want to strike when you get pretty big and can hardly fit the page. Which isn't the case for the little guy below, but still.

And that's pretty much it. Enjoy the game and good luck with getting the trophy!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Cow & Chicken: a review

Cow & Chicken has to be one of the weirdest shows to ever come out of Cartoon Network Studios. David Feiss is responsible for this masterpiece. He's worked on Ren & Stimpy, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

If you're not familiar with the show, you just need to see the intro to get the idea.

The theme song tells you everything you need to know  - "Mama had a chicken, mama had a cow. Dad was proud. He didn't care how". Cow & Chicken is openly committed to being ridiculous.

Essentially, it's a family comedy with a twist. You've got a family with two children, who go to school, play, do arts and crafts, spend time with friends. Their parents do everything to make sure the kids are fed, healthy and brought up well. Now, what is the twist? The children are an 11-year-old chicken called Chicken and a 7-year-old cow called Cow. The parents are human, but you only see their legs, which is addressed later in the series. Also, there's a big fat Red Guy with no pants, who effectively stalks these kids, finding various ways to scam them. Adults in the series seem incredibly stupid, or unaware of them immediate surroundings, & let kids get into danger.

It's somewhat similar to the Addams Family - we have a family with some very well established, but really odd customs and values. Except the entire world is messed up, not just their particular household. And the traditions aren't dark as such, they're just really weird. For example, as a special treat, Cow and Chicken get pork butts and taters for dinner. Now what does that mean? Well... their parents load a mini catapult with, quite literally, cooked pig butts and potatoes and the kids catch those in their mouths.

Appetizing, is it not?

If you like strange shows, this one is really fun.

Series name: " Cow & Chicken "
Foxy's rating: 
Expectations: I saw the show before I knew what to expect from it. It's more clever than it appears.
Writing: "Dumb show" made by clever people, who are being passive-aggressive to the censorship department. But all the weirdness is piled on top of a very familiar structure - a cute family comedy.
Animation: Very lively, purposely messy & inconsistent (especially noticeable with characters' teeth, which constantly change shape). Special care is taken to highlight all things gross, but those bits aren't painful to look at since the style is far from realistic. A lot of attention is also given to characters' butts.
Action:  Exaggerated, kind of slapstick
Drama: Utterly ridiculous.
Humour: On the surface we've got jokes about butts, weenies, manure and the occasionally cross-dressing Red Guy. Underneath that you'll occasionally find clever dialogue
Worth watching: I like it, so I'd say yes. If you want to watch it, prepare to give it a proper chance.

Curious fact:
Cow, Chicken and the Red Guy were all voiced by the same person - Charlie Adler.

The best episode:
I like all of them, so it's hard to say.
"The Girl's Bathroom" Is a good season 1 episode, if you want to get familiar with the show.
Also, "Cow's Dream Catcher" is pretty cool, if you like stories about nightmares.

I Am Weasel
The first episodes of "I Am Weasel" were part of the "Cow & Chicken" show, but, since it became its own series later, I will eventually review it as its own series.

This show is not for everyone. But it's really fun if you can appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thoughts on "The Guardians of Harmony" toys

I'm guessing you've seen these by now. We actually got pony action figures.

How sweet is that Nightmare Moon? I'd only ever expect that much detail from custom sculpts.

So, what do I think? They're bold, they're fun, they're finally show-accurate. They're... exactly what we wanted since season one.

The combat can be a bit weird, but considering what we had before, I don't care.

Okay, I am biased here, and I think the company still needs to produce brushables for the collectors. But I have been hoping for this sort of thing since before the show aired and I fully intend to buy some, so I think I'm allowed to be excited.

See, that's why you need trained marketologists on staff. They'll help you produce exactly what the consumers want. It may take five years, but who's counting.

Celestia's Theme Song

Thinking back to my Pony Theme Song post, I came up with a perfect one for Celestia.

Princess of The Dawn. Flawless.

...Actually, wait a second. I'm not too sure on the "Twlight is her slave" bit.
Otherwise though, a perfect match!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

My alternative to caffeine

I've never been a fan of coffee or energy drinks, and I've stopped drinking black tea some time ago, but every now and then I feel like drinking something uplifting.

I've heard of some people drinking ginseng to feel more awake, while others say that adding a shot of wheatgrass to their smoothie works wonders.

Here's what works pretty well for me: the lemongrass and ginger tea from Pukka Herbs. 

I'm a fan of Pukka teas in general, and this is one of my tops favourites. 

I don't know if this tea would help you wake up, but, if your tastes are anything like mine, you'll at least enjoy the flavour. It has a certain zing, but not a terribly strong one. This tea is flavoursome and slightly sweet. Like all Pukka teas, it's organic. It tastes pretty good cold as well.