As My Boss Would Say, Happy not Busy


The first month I worked at my  current company my division made 260ish signs.

That was an all time record at the time and the third month in the division’s history to break 200.

The next month was solidly in the 200s as well, but after that then dipped into mid-high hundreds for about the next year.  One month even dropped below 100, but IIRC that was the month we moved to the new building across town.

However, for the past 2 years or so we’ve been solidly over 200 every month consistently.  We topped that record of my first month several times.

Finally, last month we broke the 300 mark.  325 signs produced in a month.  That was more than a 10% jump over the last record.  It was a hugely busy month.

Today, as the last thing I did before leaving work, I packaged sign 401 for this month of February.

This is, by the way, solidly into our division’s slow quarter.  As in Feb will generally have 60-75% of the business that the months of Sept to Dec will get.

Oh, and with our current machinery, we have an absolute limit of approx 430 solar signs in one month.  If we drag out the old battery tester we can kick it up to approx 550.  And both the numbers require every Saturday.

And even then we have an absolute hard limit of any kind of sign of 624 due to LED testing capacity.

I’m kind of worried about running into that limit later this year.

And 1 year ago the concept that we could outpace our testing apparatus never even occurred to me.  It was so far beyond our scope that the thought just never had a reason to arise.

My Little Pony FiM


So, anyway, the last few weeks I’ve been seeing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic stuff everywhere.

It’s the huge new in thing in several corners of the internet.  Supposedly the ‘manliest show on TV’ and all that jazz.

So I decided to check it out.

Now I’ve gotten decently into it and I can say that it surprisingly impressive.  It is not, at least so far, the be all and end all of animation ever.  What it is, however, is the best children’s TV I’ve seen in a long time.

The main thing it does that impresses me is that it doesn’t talk down to it’s viewers.  This is a big pet peeve of mine in regards to children’s TV.  While children do not have the experience of an adult, what they are not is inherently dumb.  In fact, most children are rather bright and what they need is learning experience.

MLP’s story structure is simple, but I feel not dumb.  It presents tropes and cliches in a way that teaches the way stories work.  I’ve consumed so much fiction that I know these tropes and cliches by heart and can see them playing out in my head the instant they introduce them.  That said, I still enjoy it because I do not feel like I am being beaten over the head with a ‘you are dumb and can’t figure this out on your own’ stick.

That brings me to my next point in that the stories are stories.  In fact, they are fantasy stories. And I love me my fantasy.  It follows story structure properly and completely.

Now, to go on to some negatives.

The are definitely weak episodes.  Gilda the Griffon in particular was bad.  Everything I mention above was still there, but the story itself was weak.  It also felt like it was trying too hard to be relevant.  Despite that, I did enjoy how it was a bit more accurate in representing the bully situation and how bullies are unlikely to just reform and mend their ways.

Also, the moralism.  While I hate poo-pooing morals in stories, at the same time I very much dislike TV being the source of moral lessons.  I wouldn’t mind it if the show were just taking the moral stand that love, kindness, understanding, and friendship are good things.  Especially since they haven’t been pushing any agendas beyond simple love, kindness, understanding and friendship.  In fact, it is okay to disapprove of a friend’s behavior, but do so in love and not in jerk.  It is somewhat heavy handed with the delivery, though.  If the heroes act out these virtues that should be enough, they don’t need to spell it out in the denouement.  And that spelling out is exactly the kind of treating kids like idiots I was talking about earlier, though it is kind of a minor case due to it being just once and not all throughout.

This is the show’s true weakness.  And, most likely, the thing that’s holding it back from being great.

Speaking of morals, let me gush a little more.

In the self-esteem episode (which has been the second best episode I’ve seen), they do a great job.  They don’t teach self-esteem for the sake of self-esteem, but being confident in real abilities.  But even when dealing with those very real abilities, it is a-okay to be humble about them.  And definitely don’t be a braggart and needless show-off.

Finally: the characters are a delightful bunch.

I wish I could think of more to say, but my mind is blanking.

And yes, the show is for girls.  But that’s really due to the color palate and the fact that the characters are ponies.  Girl ponies.

The show may not, well does not, deserve it’s wild popularity and the vast majority of the praise thrown its way.  But it is very solid and enjoyable.

P.S. Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy are awesome.

Anyway, I’ll finish with some amusing videos.

Good News Everyone


Well, not good news per se.  Fun news.  Big news.  But not what one could truly classify as good news.

I requested off from work Nov 21 to Dec 5.  It was granted.

And I got flight tickets from O’hare to Seoul to Tokyo.

Making decisions like that is harrowing.  It’s expensive.  But, in the end, I know I won’t regret it.  My trip in ’07 was easily one of the finest times I had in my life.  What I spent I found easily recompensed by the experience.

Even disregarding the fun times and just plain delightfulness of the trip, the out-on-my-own feeling is intense when I am halfway around the world from anyone I know and everything is my responsibility and I have no one to fall back on.  The giddy rush of euphoria from that is amazing.

Ah, wanderlust.

I am totally going to set up trips through Imperial Palace this time though.  Kinkakuji must be seen.  The gold is only .0005mm deep, but it covers 2 entire floors of the building.  Doing some quick (and likely fail) maths indicate that would be approx $1000 per 2 square meters.  And that’s a lot of square meters.  To cover the just the outside walls of my condo with that much gold would cost roughly $37,000 dollars.

Anyway, this means I won’t be in town for Thanksgiving.

And sad face at fuel prices.  Downtime season tickets well in advance cost as much as peak season tickets a couple months in advance 4 years ago.

Corolla Marketing


What?  And it is a real marketing campaign from Toyota.

I don’t know how to express my confusion over this.

Titles are Hard


It seems that combining Saturday work with Saturday gaming just doesn’t work for me.

A while ago it wasn’t an issue.  Saturday work meant going to work on Saturday whenever I woke up.  However, my coworkers now are crazy good at waking up early on Saturday and like to just get Saturday work done with.  So by the time they would be leaving I’d just be getting in.

And we aren’t allowed to be the building alone due to lack of people around in case we get injured.

Every single attempt at combining this new Saturday work schedule with Saturday gaming has resulted in complete inability to wake up on Sunday and having a general miserable feeling.

And not even really enjoying the gaming sessions all that much do to being too tired to appreciate them.

Well, at least I can learn from experience.

Headache Relief


My headache (yeah, singular) and the grand failure of over-the-counter painkillers to affect me is something that is not uncommon knowledge among folk I know.

So, I woke up this morning with the worst headache I have ever had.  This was something brutal of an order well beyond anything I have ever felt before.  I once had coffee withdrawal and a hangover simultaneously and that had nothing on what I felt this morning.

The closest I can come to describing this was as if someone was trying to flay my face off from inside my skull with one of those metal tipped whips from Passion.

After about 2-3 hours of just suffering I caved and took some Vicodin.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  Vicodin is supposedly powerful stuff, but painkillers just don’t work.

I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that it did have an effect.  1 pill dropped me to a state of “I can actually focus on something other than pain” and 2 pills got me to “This is unpleasant, but manageable.”

While it is nice to know that there is headache relief for me when it gets too bad, the fact that it’s really powerful stuff available by prescription only is kind of depressing.  I dislike medicine.  I don’t want to take something that strong just to be able to clear my head when my headache gets bad.

Granted, given that I’ve made it this far in life before having my headache reach a point I couldn’t make it through unaided means it’s unlikely to happen again any time soon.

But hey, a painkiller that actually kills pain!  Wuu!

iTunes Surprises Me Sometimes


So I’m looking around online at various Kokia albums. Being all sad that Japan loves really high priced CDs on top of importing issues.

And one of the discography torrents says in its description that “If you like the music you should go buy it. It’s on iTunes.”

I’m all, “No way. Maybe iTunes Japan which requires a Japanese credit card.” But I check my US version of the iTunes store anyway. I’d really rather buy her delightful than download and it can’t hurt to check.

Lo and behold, thar be something like 10 of her albums. Jaw drop time.

Now I’m not going to drop 90 for the full set right now, but I sure can pick up 1 or 2.

I’ve got my music for tomorrow lined up.

Now iTunes, just get Navigatoria, Raka, and Harmonia. Please.