Y’know, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is a great poetic statement on how much seeing something can help with your mental image of it and how much information can be stored in an image that you can read at a glance, because humans are visual creatures, but I have yet to find a context where “1 picture ≈ 1000 words” is a useful conversion in practice.
If that were true and I wanted to take it into account, I could be blogging maybe a page per month of K6BD, because of the word count guidelines I set for how long a thing the patron asks me to blog can be (those are just as much subject to change as everything else about this setup; also I didn’t account for the possibility of comics)… I’m sure you can see why I don’t go by that logic.
It’s especially not true for animation and motion pictures. If that were the case, an episode of Adventure Time or Steven Universe would clock in at almost five Worms. No, that’s not “almost five Worm chapters”, I mean almost five entire Worms.
As far as western animation (which generally has 12, 8 or 4 pictures a second, not to be confused with frames) is concerned, I feel like 1 word per picture is much more accurate. That way one episode of an 11-minute show running on 2’s (12 pictures per second) is roughly 8k words. That may still be too much, especially if you also count dialogue.
Comics are a whole other beast entirely. I don’t even know how to begin judging the worth of a panel there. Maybe by how much narration it would replace in a text-based story like Worm? I’m definitely thinking a panel is generally closer to 3-50 words than to 1000, in that case. Maybe a little more when something new is shown that would be getting a physical description.
ReadMSPA.org has a modified word count formula developed to estimate the worth of the comic’s images, GIFs and Flash animations based on file size, but, well, that’s Homestuck. It’s kind of in its own medium, shared only with the other MS Paint Adventures (arguably), 17776, and works inspired by Homestuck. Besides, I’m not a huge fan of the file size method, which is why I use the non-modified word count that doesn’t take into account the informational value of GIFs and 4h13m of animation whenever I refer to Homestuck’s length.
(For the record, that modified word count clocks in at 1,358,808 words, compared to the non-modified 817,929 words.)
Ultimately I think there’s just too much variance both in how much information an image adds to a work and how much information a certain length of text adds to a work (I, for instance, am fairly wordy for how much I actually convey, so I think my thousand words would often be “worth” less than Wildbow’s thousand words), and there’s something to be said for quality over quantity even while attempting to quantify (“scarlet” says a whole lot more than “red”).
So we may never find a true conversion rate between two values that are surprisingly vague.
…perhaps it’s less about amount of information than about time it takes to read something? But that’s very dependent on the reader, and “a picture is worth a thousand words” starts to sound very backwards.
(Just to be clear, these are not serious musings on how to adjust my Patreon request guidelines, just me thinking out loud about the nature of measuring media. Also, this ramble, including this parenthetical is 606 words long.)
I’ve jokingly included Cupcakes Pinkie Pie among the Slaughterhouse Nine plenty of times, but what would the canon Pinkie Pie be like in a Worm cape battle?
Let’s pit her up against someone and see how she fares. The Undertravelers?
I’m going to take it easy and let Death Battle do much of the hard work for me as far as pulling Pinkie’s various abilities and tools together goes:
- Party cannons (fire confetti or party supplies by default)
- Throwable baked goods
- Pinkie Sense (passive, immediate precognition manifesting through involuntary bodily movements)
- Comic stretchability
- Limb duplication (has had a total of 19 hooves on-screen at once, from all edges)
- Super speed (has been known to outrun Rainbow Dash’s barely subsonic flight)
- Super strength
- High jump/bounce
- Perfect memory
- Enhanced durability
- Body morphing
- Can slip into tiny cracks (such as under boulders with flat undersides)
- Can break all laws of motion (control falling speed, walk on air, slide upwards, etc)
- Offscreen teleportation (including to the backs of flying onscreen characters, into worn hats, etc)
- Drill mane
- Can fall to pieces and put herself back together without issue
- Knows location and use of the Mirror Pool, allowing self-cloning (though clones are somewhat flanderized) – probably unavailable if the battle is set in Brockton Bay
- Can communicate via mirrors
- Wields the Element of Laughter (non-functional on her own)
- Observing and breaking the fourth wall
- Scarily precise and elaborate guesswork (“just a hunch!”)
- Skilled at entertaining
- Can be annoying and/or confusing enough to weaponize
- Skilled with a number of instruments and weaponizably unskilled with others
Hoo boy, that’s a lot. As far as classification goes, we’ve got at least Breaker, Mover, Thinker, Brute and Changer, in order of descending rating. She’s probably also a Trump, too, though it’s currently very unclear to me whether or not I actually know what that classification means. Maybe Blaster too if you count the party cannons.
Meanwhile, at the Undertravelers’ disposal:
- Skitter: Complete and nuanced control of arthropods within 2-3 or 4-6 blocks, enhanced multitasking, senses surroundings via arthropods. Skilled tactician. Master/Thinker.
- Grue: Generation and control of substance which blocks radiation and sound and causes some additional resistance. Can see and hear as though the substance wasn’t there. Can borrow a fraction of powers from those within the substance but does not have the necessary brain adaptations to fully control certain powers. Skilled physical fighter. Shaker/Trump?
- Tattletale: Enhanced intuition. Skilled verbal manipulator. Thinker.
- Regent: Body control. Can cause twitches or spend a longer time taking full control. High-rated Master.
- Bitch: Wolf/dog empowerment. Causes wolves or dogs to transform into hellhounds. Master, bestows Brute rating to dogs.
- A small number of trained hellhounds.
- Imp: Oblivion. Is forgotten and unnoticed when not actively allowing people to remember her. Stranger, probably.
- Shatterbird: High-range silicone-specific telekinesis. Can use it to fly. Blaster/Mover.
- Trickster: Can teleport things and people around but has to swap similar masses. Shaker/Mover.
- Sundancer: Generates and controls superheated ball of plasma. Blaster, maybe also Shaker.
- Ballistic: Can rapidly accelerate objects on touch. Striker/Blaster.
- Genesis: Creates projections with great freedom of design. Changer, probably also Trump.
- Advantage of numbers.
The lack of killing intent among the Undersiders and some of the Travelers might be an issue, because I can’t think of any way to restrain Pinkie Pie for long if she’s alive.
Another option would be to talk her down or distract her from whatever has her fighting the Undertravelers in the first place. Which means we need to figure out why they’re fighting. Maybe they broke a Pinkie promise and have to protect themselves from the pink wrath? In that case, Tattletale might have a hard time getting through to her.
Distraction would work in many contexts, but probably not in that one.
Alright, let’s just follow Death Battle logic and say they’re fighting to the death and it doesn’t matter why. Compunctions against killing on both sides are ignored.
This, of course, makes Sundancer a force to be reckoned with. I think her sun and maybe Shatterbird’s glass are the main things the Undertravelers have going for them that can actually kill Pinkie.
Skitter’s venomous bugs might also work – Pinkie’s durable and has a very strong stomach, but she hasn’t displayed any immunity to disease or venom. Skitter should also be useful for detecting Pinkie’s location.
The difficulty might be in catching her, though. She’s not good at stealth, but some of her powers do lend themselves to it, as well as to zipping around.
Putting her in Grue’s darkness may not be great for stopping her, because she can teleport while out of the audience’s view (or get out through other methods), but if he can borrow some of her powers, that might come in handy somehow. A lot of the possibilities there would be highly situational, though, especially if they last only for a moment before Pinkie’s out of the darkness.
Bitch… I’m not sure the dogs would do much damage to Pinkie. They might, I suppose – she’s not invulnerable. Pinkie might deal with them by playing games, though, her cutie mark in entertaining overriding Bitch’s rigorous training of the dogs.
Imp’s power might be useless. Pinkie has really good memory, to the point that Death Battle considers it a power, and it’s entirely possible that it is and it interacts weirdly with Imp’s. Pinkie also has her hunches, which are somewhat similar to Tattletale’s power but less reliable.
If Imp’s power works, though, she could be useful, especially if she gets POV and therefore the ability to potentially keep Pinkie from teleporting.
Trickster is probably most useful here as a way to get whomever the circumstances call for to wherever Pinkie pops up.
Genesis is highly versatile. I don’t know what she could pull together to go up against Pinkie Pie, though…
Honestly, though, I think the MVPs of this for the Undertravelers would be Tattletale, Sundancer and maybe Regent. Even if Tattletale can’t talk Pinkie down from fighting, Pinkie is very emotionally fragile at times, and a lot of the antics she’d normally get up to might seem pointless to her if Tattletale gets her to deflate. Yes, I am saying the best bet here is to make the party pony depressed and then take advantage of that to catch her in the sun.
The Regent element comes in with regards to the Pinkie Sense. The Pinkie Sense manifests as twitching, flopping, shivers and other involuntary body movements that indicate to Pinkie what’s about to happen. For once, Regent’s ability to cause twitching and other involuntary body movements could have time to shine. If Skitter or Tattletale figures out the Pinkie Sense, Regent will be able to create fake positives, thereby manipulating Pinkie’s behavior (for instance, making her hide from the sky when nothing is about to fall), maybe eventually causing her to mistrust the Pinkie Sense when it’s actually going off. Combine that with some tactically placed venomous bugs, glass and perhaps a sun, and they might be able to get her.
Of course, a lot of this is about the Undertravelers’ offensive. But they also need to stay alive. Offensively, Pinkie Pie can pop out of anywhere the audience doesn’t “see” to attack the Undertravelers, pull just about anything out of hammerspace, and presumably punch someone from all directions at once with superstrong hooves, bounce on them, fire her party cannons (those are more powerful than they sound), and so on. Ultimately she doesn’t have the same raw offensive power the Undertravelers do, but I recommend not underestimating her on that front either.
Unfortunately it’s very hard to tell what Pinkie Pie is like in a real fight, because in canon we only have one brief fight to base it on, and in that one, she only used Twilight as a machine gun and fired a party cannon. I think the Undertravelers could take her on, but finishing her off might be difficult without employing clever tactics and/or exploiting her emotional fragility.
Fortunately the Undertravelers are good at both of those things.
Alright, that grew a lot longer than I expected. Let’s finally take a look at today’s asks!
I was wondering what you’d pick this year, but I have to say, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous ones. At least for me, the ones where you read an actual story and try to work it into Worm were more entertaining to read than trying to get meaning from gibberish, like this year. But maybe you feel different? Did you enjoy blogging this one more than Cupcakes or Enoby? Can you tell us what it was like to do this liveblog? 🙂
Honestly, I feel the same way. My Immortal and Cupcakes were much more fun to do, in part because that was about me recontextualizing the meaning that was actually there rather than trying to reconstruct apples from mashed potatoes.
The other way this year’s April Fool’s chapter sticks out: This was the first time it was actually blind to some extent. I was rather familiar with both the beginning of My Immortal and Cupcakes, so the real me, the me who was pretending to be a more ignorant me, knew what was coming up and could set things up to be funnier through false dramatic irony. Not so much this time, where I ran the story through Translate as I went along and never knew more than a few paragraphs of what lay ahead.
Oh well. It’s a fun thing to have, anyway, even if it wasn’t the best of results.
I hope you are as OK as the circumstances of whatever prevents you from standing unsupported, and wish you a smooth and full recovery from it.
Thank you. 🙂
For some context to this ask:
As I mentioned in 16.3, I have been having back problems the last week or so. It started on Tuesday, presumably caused by me stretching a little too much to put things on the top shelf without using the stool at work. In other words, totally my fault.
After being forced to go back to my bed on all fours, I mentioned the back problems on Twitter and Tumblr only in the form of “Status: Unable to stand without support. Next chapter might take a little bit.” without context for why.
That was the lowest point of the last week. Thankfully I was able to stand up again later that day.
As of now (Monday), I’m mostly fine. I can feel that my back isn’t entirely over it, but it doesn’t hurt anymore and I was able to work a full day today.
Don’t die, please, we like you, thanks in advance
I’ll try not to! No promises.
What have you DONE, Krixwell? What have you done…
I don’t know if this ask is in the context of the April Fool’s chapter or the back problems or something else, but I like it either way.
Food for thought: Panacea probably could have repaired Piggot’s kidneys (and everything else) super easily.
(I… think that did very briefly occur to me at some point?)
Yeah, but of course, so much to do, so little time… I’m guessing Piggot isn’t pleased about it, though.
Then again, maybe she didn’t want to be healed by a parahuman?
Any new speculation on Lisa’s (or Sarah’s) past? We got a new detail, from Piggot of all places.
It seems like it’s probably not a matter of Lisa’s parents not loving her. At the very least it seems they cared enough to continue looking for her, for better or worse.
I suppose there’s a good chance Tattle’s backstory has a lot to do with her brother. Did he do something to her, perhaps involving demeaning her based on intelligence? Or perhaps she did something to him and ran away to avoid facing it?
That latter thing would beautifully recontextualize Lisa’s behavior when it came to Amy and Victoria, the way she was really set on making Amy fix her mistake… the way she herself didn’t.
Fanfic idea: Piggot has an involuntary Changer power, to turn into a pony while sleeping. Sadly here is a mental side effect involved, her other self is a big fan of Bonesaw and tries to emulate her. Watch as the director of the BB PRT hunts a C53 serial killer, fueling her disdain for parahumans, only to discover in a shocking twist that it was herself all along!
Dir. Jekyll and the Were-Pinkie…
I binged the first two seasons of ML on Netflix because of you, so thanks for singlehandedly putting yet another fandom into my busy schedule. Jerk.
kill six billion demons is very good! if you haven’t noticed, some of the comic’s pages have hover text. nothing too important, just fun little asides most of the time.
I did eventually notice that, though I didn’t read any yet. Just in case, y’know? I’ll leave it up to the patron whether I should start reading them when I do chapter 3, or leave them for a future reread.
“correct universe”? wow rude
Pff. I mean, the universe Allison would be interested in that potential human being from. Other universes with humans, if such exist, aren’t any less valid, but they’re not what Allison is looking for.
(Okay, this is only vaguely Worm-related, but let’s put it here anyway.)
It’s funny how even with a shared point of reference to judge by, if you don’t see things next to each other it can be hard to properly appreciate how big they are.
Specifically, what I’m talking about is an ursa major from MLP:FiM.
In the early episode Boast Busters, this humongous bear monster attacks Ponyville:
Through comparison with the buildings and population of Ponyville, it’s made abundantly clear that it’s big.
At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that this is not an ursa major like most ponies in the episode believe, but an ursa minor. Then we get this cutaway to show what the major is like:
And, well, sure, this really conveys the idea that it’s really… well, big. And that’s the same thing, right?
Unless you start really thinking about the relative proportions of the ponies, the ursa minor and the ursa major using multiple shots (or think to compare via the water tower top the minor is drinking from), it’s still really easy to find yourself picturing the ursa major as ursa minor-sized when thinking about it interacting with ponies, because we never see the ursa major outside this very open cave.
And so it’s easy to forget that if ponies are sized like real ones (120 cm measured at the back), this beast is almost twice as tall as Worm’s Behemoth.
Intellectually, I know the ursa major is flipping enormous, but intuitively, it’s hard to divorce the image of the ursa from the context we saw it in and properly adjust it to a different one. It’s easier to just picture what we’ve seen of the ursa minor in that other context, except this time it’s purple and shaggy.
And it really doesn’t help that the only other time the ursa major has come up in the show was in an unillustrated tall tale where it doesn’t sound much bigger than a normal bear.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me being bad with sizes, but it’s something I find vaguely interesting.
…ooh, this art by Karidyas is pretty epic: