A friend of mine was musing about pronouns and creating new ones lately. Namely, about what would sound the least awkward but most fitting in each inflection. As this was happening, I was like, why isn't there a place where you can just type in pronouns and have a passage change so you can see how awkward (or not) they sound?? So, I decided to make one.
Of course, writing sample passages with a focus on pronouns is hard, so I fell back to what I knew best: eldritch nonbinary birdpeople. Pay it no mind. You have a pronoun tester now. :p
By now I've got a number of libre songs that I didn't create but have included in Stablehand (or considered doing so) under libre licences. There are a handful more less official ones on my tumblr, but here are the main ones right now to round out my music tag.
Then there's Kyrielle (Denis RICHARD), the theme of Rotator Phoenix. I have yet to make a real post with illustrations about the technotranscendent quatrumvirate, but it's potentially going to be a long one, so I'll save details about him for that. The really short version: he's a laid-back techno pop idol with a fiery-themed propeller that founded a city in the sky. (BY-SA 2.5)
About thirty seconds in I was positive it was pretty much the perfect way to represent Rotator's laid-back but also "cool" style, and surprisingly, I got all the way to the end of the song without being dissuaded of that.
I [...] feel like the name Kyrielle actually kind of... fits in a weird way. The best I can describe it is, it sounds like a name that would resonate with Rotator and that he'd associate with himself and inscribe on things as if it came from some kind of lost love, though in reality he never had any such girlfriend and he's just kind of pretending because that's what that name sounds like he should do with it.
I felt like it pretty perfectly embodied one of Ariana's main ideas, travel and adventure, so I decided to make it her theme.
Finally, there's this. Someone Else's Memories (Revolution Void). I... don't want to say much about the character it's the theme of this early. So instead, I'll say that I picked it because it's a song I almost literally couldn't get tired of. Partly because it had an electric organ which is my second favourite instrument.(BY 3.0)
As you might or might not know, this site is in the midst of a recode right now! Mainly I wanted to recode the template so that it wouldn't be so ridiculously horrifyingly hard to maintain, which is going pretty well (1440 lines of code vs 3114 lines in the original template, to give you a rough idea; 1039 vs 2403 with all custom CSS cut out). Also, I wanted to make a theme that emphasised my current Stablehand project, instead of my old Tyrian project that I heavily backburnered a little while after making the old theme.
The nice thing about this new template is that I'm not going to have to load an external stablehand.css for the pages specifically about Stablehand any more (both because I'm reworking things and because I'll have to do less reskinning anyway with the style already in line with it :p), so they should load a little faster. Accordingly, I'll be lessening the boundary between the Stablehand section and the main site a lot, dumping the guidebook pages in with regular posts for one (they'll be clearly marked though), and overall grouping the site by big topics (main characters, side characters, world). My goal is to make it easier to find stuff if you have no idea what you're looking for.
Nice thing number two is that I stumbled into AddToAny on a google search, which unlike the default Blogger share buttons, actually looks pretty useful. I've also figured out how to (mis)use the title link field I never use to add my own share link so you can reblog things from my tumblr if I've already posted them there.
Oh, and nice thing number three is that it resizes like crazy. I'm going to have to test it in other browsers but right now it zooms to the window size beautifully in Firefox with just a little bit of CSS.
Spoiler alert: this site will be renamed when the template goes through. I like that when you abbreviate it to SNN it looks like a weird news network.
I feel like I need to share the inspiration for this character, because it's an odd little story.
So, there's this cartoon called Regular Show. I had never actually watched it, but apparently it's one of those things where a guy won a contest and just sort of put together a bunch of random characters and things lying around and wove a concept around them. Which was basically 'hey what if they were just sort of goofing around at college'.
So that's what Regular Show is.
Now here's what I thought it was.
You have this anthropomorphic blue jay and raccoon. They live in a world where pretty much everyone they run into on a daily basis is human, but they are not. For some weird reason, nobody can notice this, and thus everybody expects them to get up off their behinds and get jobs like responsible adults.
They refuse. They protest, reminding others of their respective species. They loiter around looking for food in yards and parking lots, only to be given stern warnings by police. But all to no avail. Their parents try to reassure them over the phone that it won't be so bad, that they'll get used to it, that things have been this way since they were that age at least. But they don't understand. This is a generation of jays and raccoons that unlike their parents, can't stand this insanity any more.
Wearily the two of them search the classifieds, looking for what feels like forever for some job that will let them put in a healthy minimum of work. But there's no easy way out in sight. Glancing at each other uneasily, they become ready to just give in like their parents and accept a bleak future of cursing capitalism. Finally, staff at the park they've been frequenting lately offer them a position (giving the reason that it's better they give them a chance to turn their lives around than just kick them out).
The two of them accept; that'll work well enough. Maybe they'll be able to stand it. But nevertheless, they try their best to sneakily avoid working in bizarre and entertaining ways.
It was this picture that made me realise I was subconsciously making up that whole narrative in the first place, because everything clicked into place when I saw that blue jay in the frame: the jay, Mordecai, was obviously somehow different from that bird. Maybe it was one of his old relatives or acquaintances or something rather than him, but in any case, something had happened to make him a new bird, unlike the bird he was before.
The best theory I could come up with was that he had never actually changed physically, and he was still actually a perfectly ordinary blue jay fluttering around awkwardly doing human-ish stuff, but the cartoon was just told the way it was because this was the way he saw everything since he'd surrendered to the concept of himself the humans had forced on him. Cameras, however, would still capture him as a regular bird.
I was pretty sure that when the frame was circled like that in the screenshot this was kind of an unexpected one-off and wasn't something the show ever actually addressed, but even so I wanted to imagine that every so often, there would be a little tiny hint like this of the story I just described, designed to jar you and make you go 'wait this isn't right, why can't they notice he's a blue jay'.
So, I knew it was unlikely, but I just really wanted to believe there was some kind of emotional drama going on in this show with the two of them grappling with the strain of being an adult in a society that just didn't understand them at all (read: was seemingly off its rocker) and maybe this idea of wanting to mature and grow but having to accept that as the cost of it.
As I learned more about Regular Show, I pretty quickly learned that it was really not about that (well, the part about the park staff seeing them as pretty much hopeless but giving them one last chance to turn their life around is almost accurate—they cause a ridiculous amount of trouble and are constantly getting last chances from their boss on a daily basis :p). But I really liked the story of a bird-man trying to wrestle with a world that wouldn't stop seeing him as a human, and so, I made Wings-07.
Wings-07 (pronounced "Wings Seven") is an anthropomorphic waxwing, created by a team of scientists in a far-off locale as an experiment to see how birdpeople would do in the workforce (he's the seventh prototype; don't ask me what happened with the other prototypes, but they probably weren't very useful). Wings, much to the scientists' dismay, never had much enthusiasm in working, instead always wanting to go on adventures and take pictures. Eventually, they let him go on the condition that he had to find a job and send back detailed reports of how he was doing. (Ariana's storyline, which he will appear in as one of her miraculously-realised characters, will probably involve trying to help him find a job in spite of his unwillingness to work as one of the sidequests.)
For some reason, although people's eyes see him exactly as he is, their brains don't process the image as avian, and instead they see him as a vaguely-defined human with vaguely-defined clothes. As I tried to show, he basically has huge lightweight hands with wings over them, which have a weird mechanism where if he expands the hand out the feathers fold back, and if he contracts the hand the feathers expand. He can fly by making semi-fists and extending his arms, though to humans he looks like a person with expanded arms inexplicably drifting through the air.
Though I actually came up this explanation way after the fact, I'd say now that the scientists probably intentionally gave him the human-appearance gimmick as a way of controlling variables, mainly so any employers/customers wouldn't treat him any differently from a regular human.
Stablehand is a libre universe which will begin around a visual gamebook I'm currently developing. The goal is to give you the first fandom in which fan stuff will be 100% legal by default, no caveats (ok, two if you wanna be technical), and on roughly equal footing with canon stuff. It's a little bit like a Wikipedia universe!
Now, the visual gamebook I just mentioned, of the same name.
It is, as a certain someone made me describe, a sort of "choose your own adventure with attributes". The story has a number of its own quirky mechanics, but one of the central ideas is that there are any number of ways to be and to approach things, aka attributes.
Some people are good at certain attributes, others are terrible at them, others may even use the same attribute differently! Every character is different, and characters can of course change what attributes they are good at and which define them, sometimes leading to them schematising into new forms.
Each character (there are 12) has a distinct theme, story, and background within the framework of a fairly vast world.
And speaking of world, it's a fantastical world with an aesthetic I call retrolark. I've described it as "retro-modern middle-fantasy surrealism".
Basically, a "retrolark" world is one where everything is styled in a sort of avant-garde minimalistic style that looks "modern" in an abstract way, but with traces of the awkward charm of about the 70s-90s. Silly expressions like "rad" are common, and people often see the world with a strange open-minded optimism. More centrally, the the world is full of strange and unheard-of things to the point almost nothing is surprising to them. That's the "lark" part.
And let's not forget the mysterious unreal entities without normal eyes that came from who-knows-where.
So, yeah! That's Stablehand. It's a goofy retro-avantgarde-fantastical Wikipedia universe where people have "attributes" and stuff. That's what it is.