twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
There's news on the social use of the cross referencing version of the Haycartes book reading spell. Not only it has it not died out due to the incompatibility of most books, but it has gained a bit in popularity. The more sensationalist rags, like the Natural Equinerer, have been having a hay day with this new threat to the health and well-being of our colts and fillies. Rarity brought me a bunch of articles from Canterlot and Manehattan, stories of herds of young ponies falling out of book-bags carried past the anti-Haycartes barrier outside of public libraries and bookstores. Whole neighborhoods emptying of young ponies until the wee hours, up to Luna only knows what manor of mischief, leaving their parents wall eyed with panic. In short, it's the beginning of "the downfall of Equestria as thousands of bookworms spend all their free time indulging in this confusing fantasy bookverse game instead of the pony ideals of hard work, family and the Equestrian Way". So says the The Hay We Choose.

This is rediculous since a pony can normally only manetain a Haycartes spell for about half an hour before needing to rest. The Hay We Choose tells of ponies reported to have banned all printed material from their houses for fear that PHS ponies might use it to spy on them and that small herds of concerned citizens have tried to pressure their city councilors to remove reading and writing from the school curriculum. The Hay We Choose also has at least one I Foaled a Monster story each week, as well as Celestia's Secret Stud Herd, miracle rainbow hooficure in a bottle, the dangers of tooth floating and other nonsense. Same goes for the Natural Equinerer. I don't see what Rarity gets out of these rags.

I've been a bit quiet in my journal lately. I didn't have any news, at least nothing that seemed worth writing down.

Chilly

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:14 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It was unusually chilly for a mid-summer day today. Certainly not to one to prompt a pony to line up for ice cream at Sugarcube Corner, more of a day for warm soup and maybe a scarf. I did notice more ponies than usual wearing hats and shawls today, but that may be because I was wishing I'd put on a scarf. I took my reading material, a comfortable cushion and a small blanket out to a sunny corner of the larger balcony. That helped chase away the chills. So did the big bowl of oat and alfalfa cube soup Spike whipped up for lunch.

Peaceful

Jul. 12th, 2017 11:31 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I had a quiet day at home. I spent most of it in my reading room with the books I borrowed from the Crystal Empire.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The Map Table didn't call on anypony while I was in the Crystal Empire. In fact, it hasn't activated in a while. Not that I want to see another major problem like the one it sent Starlight Glimmer to solve. That was nerve wracking. But a nice friendship puzzle, like the one Dash and I fixed this spring, that would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath. This Table only seems to call us two or three times a year and it has already sent ponies (including Starlight Glimmer!) on two quests this year. I think that if the Table starts fitting the bridle to ponies wrangled far and wide, it's going to be a long time indeed before I, or any of us of the monogrammed stone chairs, get chosen again.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
For a change of pace, I went for an extended stay with my brother's family in the Crystal Empire. On a whim, I just hopped on the Friendship Express five days ago and went knocking on the Crystal Castle door. If all else failed, I still had a few books in my saddlebag I hadn't finished reading, for the trip back. I always pack a few books. You never know. But Princess Cadence has a few available guest rooms so I stayed overnight, and then a few days more, and then, why not, for the fireworks. I came back today with Spike and my friends.

I'd left a note saying I was going to the Crystal Empire, just so Spike wouldn't panic. I wouldn't want him to think I'd been foalnapped by Queen Chrysalis or trapped in a book or something. Then I sent him another letter from the Crystal Castle after I'd decided to stay for the fireworks. Meanwhile, it was great to browse through a library that wasn't my own, catch up with Shining and Princess Cadence over dinner and it was fun to play with my niece. I read I Met A Mare to her several times. She's at an age where she likes to do the same things and be read the same book over and over again. On the day of the fireworks, I was expecting Spike, but instead I had five friends who came bursting into the castle library. Surprise! So we went out for lunch and walked around the shops and sights until fireworks time. Spike, who knows a few ponies at the festival, was able to get them all first class accommodation before he got down to the important business of being an important fixture in the festival.

We found good seats, Pinkie found popcorn, and after Celestia set the sun, the pyrotechnicians from Sea Cattle lit up the sky. Theirs was a water theme with rows upon rows of horse tails, crashing together like waves on a beach, sprays and geysers rising from the ground and more raining from the sky like a mad storm of spinning sparks. In the calm periods, they launched peonies and diadems of every color, sending them up to float above a mist of sparks. I think I would like to visit the seashore one day.

It's pretty crowded in the streets of the Crystal Empire on the day of the fireworks spectacle, and many ponies stay overnight. I planned on going back with Spike and we all ended up extending our visit for another day and night. Last evening we saw several luna moths glowing softly in the fields beyond the residential areas. Not the hordes that arose from the wild growth phenomenon the Crystal Empire experienced last year, but enough to be exciting. We only get fireflies in Ponyville.

Well, I'm back. I brought a pile of books I borrowed from the Crystal Castle library with me, so I have an excuse to go back soon.

Refreshed

Jul. 4th, 2017 11:56 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I was overdue for a trip to the spa. It's summer, it's hot and humid and feeling sweaty and sticky just becomes the norm. It was getting harder to brush the rats out of my mane and I was about ready to give up on keeping my flight feathers straight. Rolling in the dust in that bare spot behind the castle probably didn't help make my coat any shinier either. So I went to the spa after breakfast. To my surprise, Fluttershy was in the waiting room, leafing through the fashion magazines. From the look of her mane, quite a few mice had been nesting in it and she smelled a bit like she'd been out helping frogs migrate again. She also looked and sounded like a pony who has been up night and day tending to a few too many orphans for her own good. Kind of like my brother after Flurry Hearts was foaled. I made my appointment at the reception and we waited for our turns and for Rarity to arrive.

Rarity came in, looking like a thousand bits, and was instantly appalled at how we had let ourselves go. My excuse is books and Fluttershy, well, she's busy too. I don't think Rarity bought our stories. Fortunately, the lecture on skin pH, open pores and unsightly things that get wedged into the frogs of your hooves if you aren't eternally vigilant was cut short when Lotus opened the door and ushered us in. First stop, a thorough scrub down.

It feels really good to have two ponies with brushes scrubbing out the grime in all those hard to reach places. I must have been particularly filthy because I began to wonder if they were going to run out of hot water. Applejack has been to the boiler room here, maybe she could tell me what the hot water reservoir capacity is. Once I was clean enough, they dried me off, wrapped me in fragrant towels and I went to join Rarity and Fluttershy for an hoof trim, a hoof-softening soak and a hooficure. I think Fluttershy slept through that and the feather waxing. Rarity had a mud mask on and cucumber slices over her eyes and she did most of the talking. She has three local ponies displaying and selling their fashion lines in her Carousel Boutique and it has taken some of the pressure off of running boutiques in three different towns, but it also means less space for her own creations.

We emerged from the spa fragrant, shiny and groomed and we made a bee line to Sugarcube Corner for some spiced summer grass smoothies. Fluttershy was itching to get back to her cottage before her orphans got too restless and Rarity had a meeting scheduled at her boutique, so we all trotted off on our separate ways with our cool drinks.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Moondancer wrote back. Cross referencing Haycartes has become the new darling nighttime activity of teenage ponies in Canterlot. The Ffjordian book network lives and dies by their wake/sleep cycle, so don't expect much in the mornings, or even the afternoons. Because they're still relatively weak magic casters, it takes quite a few connecting the same books to get any kind of stability in the bookverse they build. They tire quickly and victory is counted in how many minutes they managed to maintain a network. Since the club has already divided itself by genre, even the more popular networks are small and fizzle quickly.

She goes on to say that Academia has already dropped this spell as useful tool. As I had noticed, reference texts don't get along and bicker worse than the ponies who wrote them. She said that the consensus is that we're better off cross referencing books the old fashioned way.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It's really not easy to manetain a peaceful cross reference with this new Haycartes variant. Since connecting with the Canterlot club keeps failing, I tried again on my own with books in my library. This time I pulled writings by Sow Crates, The Art of Drawer by Sun True and The Artwork of Martingale Canter Etcher. It wasn't long before the insults started to fly. That escalated into a heated argument between Sun True and Sow Crates which degenerated into squealing, kicking, mane yanking and chases through Etcher's labyrinths and flocks of transforming creatures. I pulled the plug. Ffjord made it look all so exciting and inviting, but the real thing is just a mess. I guess that's fiction for you.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Big dark clouds were sent our way and the rain rolled in over Ponyville for a good part of the day. Rainbow Dash cleared them out after the showers ended and I had an unobstructed view of Luna's sky and the joy streaming south from the Crystal Empire following another evening of the best and brightest fireworks Equestria can muster. I should take the train north sometime soon to watch another event at the Pan-Equestria Fireworks Festival.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
This morning we received a singing picnic invitation from Pinkie, right at our breakfast table. How Pinkie knew when exactly we'd all be having breakfast I'll never know, it's rarely at the same time from one day to the next and most days we're not all three there at the same time. But Pinkie burst in in a spray of confetti (I splashed tea everywhere, I think Starlight Glimmer choked on hers) and started singing. At least she gave us plenty of time to plan on what to take. After she left we had look through our pantry and decided on alfalfa cream soup, hay crackers, oat bread and strawberry jam. I made a big jug of iced mint tea too, that was my contribution to the actual preparation. I usually don't ruin tea. Starlight Glimmer and I left the real cooking to Spike.

I think Pinkie chose today because everypony was in town. Rainbow Dash has some time off Wonderbolt duty, Rarity is in between orders, Fluttershy's orphans are grown enough that she can get away for a few hours and Applejack's farm chores have settled down to something manageable. So there were eight of us out on our usual hill in the Western Pasture, surrounded by the gold and green stems of regrowing timothy grass and with a great view of both Ponyville and Canterlot. We could have gone to Saddle Lake, but we'll save that for another picnic when Fluttershy's proteges are a bit more independent.

Applejack and Rainbow Dash arrived first. They were already playing horseshoes by the time we crested the hill. We put down our picnic blankets next to theirs and unpacked our contribution to the feast. Rarity and Fluttershy were the last to arrive and as soon as they'd unpacked, Applejack and Rainbow Dash put down their horseshoes and we had lunch. We ate a lot. We had to take breaks, there was so much to eat, but Starlight and I came prepared with books, Rarity and Fluttershy soaked up the sun, and Spike and Pinkie teamed up against Applejack and Dash at horseshoes. It was a nice way to spend a summer afternoon.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I haven't talked to Moondancer in ages. I wonder what she could tell me about this new cross referencing Haycartes spell. I'd bet she'd know all about it. I tried to see if I could find her through her Treatise On Ponies book but I think her copy was closed, so I sent her a letter instead.

We had fresh strawberry jam on oat bread hot out of the oven for lunch, along with fresh, still green first cut hay. To top it all off, strawberry ice cream. Summertime, and the living is easy.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I was still hesitant about trying this new cross referencing Haycartes spell, I still have flashes of what it was like to be trapped in a book for days, but around midmorning I put one hoof on my nose and took the plunge. I chose an old favorite, Thornhoof's Brief History of Canterlot and I tried to connect it to the books activated by the Panequestrian Haycartes Society.

I had no success this morning. Either nopony was connecting books at that hour in Canterlot or my timid first attempt wasn't strong enough to bridge the distance from Ponyville to Canterlot. I decided to connect to a book in my own library instead; I chose Samule Lawnson's Whinnypiafficon of the Equestrian Language. It was not a happy marriage. Samule tore into Thornhoof, criticizing and trying to change every little bit of the latter's upstart New Equestrian spelling and sentence structure. Thornhoof was getting a little indignant at being interrupted every time he opened his mouth. Between the flattened ears and Samule winding up his hindquarters to buck his way through Thornhoof's Canterlot, I could see where this was going. I dropped the link. OK, lesson learned: no dictionaries. Not a great start.

This afternoon I tried again to link to the Panequestrian ponies through my Thornhoof. Success! I managed to establish a link, somepony was cross referencing a Hardy Bays book with what was probably a Shadow Spade novel. They seemed to be getting along better than my earlier attempt with the dictionary. I didn't meet whoever it was who was casting the spell in Canterlot, but the historical figures in my book wandered out into the expanded landscape and vice versa for the fictional characters activated by the pony or ponies in Canterlot. The historical characters were more interested in telling anypony who would listen all about themselves than they were in having a real conversation with the fictional characters walking through the streets of old Canterlot. It probably didn't help that none of the characters looked to be all there, and then they vanished. I think maybe the pony or ponies activating the Canterlot books was/were having trouble holding the Haycartes spell stable. I tried again to link up but most of the links broke the instant I reached out to them. It could have been from be the added strain that I caused by casting all the way from Ponyville. Suffice to say, it wasn't much of a Ffjordian book-world experience for me.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I read an article today in the Journal of Cultural Equinology and Magic about a new book club called the Panequestrian Haycartes Society. It's not at all what I thought it was. This book club doesn't discuss books, they get books to interact! Somepony has found a way to expand Moondancer's Haycartes variant to include not only other editions of the same book, but other unrelated books simultaneously. Initially it was supposed to be an academic tool to aid in cross referencing books for research purposes, but a group of students seized on this as a way to create a Ffjordian bookverse and apparently this new book network has become quite popular. The article appends a thorough description of the spell and how to cast it. I'm a bit leery of variants on Haycartes after that time I got trapped in a corrupted enchanted book but this sounds tempting. I'm going to give it a try tomorrow.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Spike and I had the hay pantry sparkling clean in plenty of time before Big MacIntosh and Applejack arrived with my order of first cut hay. Starlight Glimmer lifted the bales, one at a time, up to the hay-room balcony and I moved them into an array that allowed a pony or baby dragon to easily walk through the room and for good air flow as well. Once all the bales were in, Starlight Glimmer teleported up and the two of us graded all the bales by size, weight and colour. We placed the greenest bales near the door so that we'd eat those first. Then Spike and I went to the market to get something special to have with our lunch. We found that strawberries are in season. We brought home a few baskets full of those. They didn't last long.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Spike was looking pretty haggard when he got back from the train station this afternoon. The fireworks had a late start and he probably pushed himself a little too hard to keep going for the entire event. He disappeared into his room and I only saw him again for a brief period this evening. We'll tidy up the hay pantry first thing tomorrow morning. I have the brooms, mops and dust bins all lined up and we'll use the same initial bale stacking plan I used last year. It will be a breeze!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Spike is off on Fireworks Duty in the Crystal Empire overnight. I've been out watching the play of light streaming down from the Crystal Empire. The crystal ponies are content and so am I. I've made arrangements with Applejack to cart my first cut hay to the castle in a few days and I will have Starlight Glimmer's help to hoist it. When Spike gets back, we'll give the hay pantry one last cleaning, just in time to store the fresh hay there. It's already pretty clean, Spike has been diligent and I tend to stack the unused hay racks in a corner when I go there.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Cloudsdale sent sheets of rain to Ponyville today, a downpour to make up for the dry spell we'd had for the harvest. Now that the clouds have cleared, everything looks so clean and fresh. I hadn't noticed the dust before the rain washed it away, but the dry soil had started to blow around and the short grass in the pastures wasn't holding it back. I gathered my books near the door to the balcony where I could hear the waves of rain wash across the stones and smell the mist and spray. Starlight Glimmer retired to the silence and isolation of the library.

Starlight Glimmer told me something odd today. She told me that Maud had mentioned that with the right rock you could rule all of Equestria. Maud may have been jesting, it's hard to say with her, but then she may have been serious. I've seen a few magic-channeling rocks here in Equestria, such as the one that used to be in the heart of the Changeling Hive, so "the right rock", for the right kind of magic, is not far fetched. What dangers would such a rock entail? If I got that desperate, would I dare look for this rock? Could it be tuned to the Magic of Friendship? If Maud knows this, there could already be ponies out looking for such a stone.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Ponies have been hard at work all day carting bales of hay out of the pastures and either sending them to the lofts or straight to market. The ground is getting dry and Cloudsdale should be dowsing us with showers tomorrow. Meanwhile the pastures are still. The stiff stems of the trimmed timothy grass have yellowed and the ground is crisscrossed here and there where the hay wagons have passed, and trampled where the summer Sun Celebrants pronked and paraded. After Celestia lowered the sun to rest and the long summer's day gave way to a warm summer's night, the fireflies awoke and filled the fields with lights.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The party lasted until well past dawn. The field ponies were the first to break away from the galloping herd and trot home for a few hours of rest before heading back out to loft some more of Ponyville's finest bales. After breakfast at Town Hall, I helped clear the tables. Everypony is pretty tired, so we'll do a proper clean up tomorrow. The market and the entire town will have been very quiet all day. Most shops will be closed and the clouds sculpted into giant effigies of the Royal Princess Sisters are still there in the sky over the Western Pasture. From my vantage point of my high balcony, they seem to be looking down on the churned up ground and a few dropped streamers and lanterns where the town's ponies had frolicked and stamped in approval of the lowering moon and rising sun. I brought my lantern home and I've hung it in the library by last year's lantern. They're bookending the doorway. Maybe I could ask Rarity to make me a Summer Sun Celebration tapestry to hang in the entrance hall. I think that would be appropriate for a Friendship Castle.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The all night Summer Sun Celebration party is in full swing at Town Hall. I'm taking a breather from all the ponies line-stomping to the loud music. A few yaks have decided to join us this year and they seem to like Pinkie's balloon avalanche and stomping in time to the music. I'll go back soon for some more of Pinkie's punch and then the pre-dawn lantern procession, it's the highlight of the Summer Sun Celebration now here in Ponyville. Maybe there are some of those crispy peppermint hay cookies left. On my way home I stopped for a while to watch Fluttershy coax a whole bunch of fireflies to follow her from the pastures to Town Hall for the procession. It's amazing how she connects with so many critters.
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