Whirlwind weekend
Posted on March 19th, 2012
The past few days have been something of a whirlwind of activity. And occasionally real whirlwinds have been involved too.

Here's a brief rundown...

I had a crazy idea about the dead laptop. It's still lying here in a heap over by my shelves as it contains heavy metals and other materials that need to go to a specialized disposal plant rather than the garbage. Naturally, said place doesn't operate in the winter, so we haven't made the trip.

Anyway, it occurred to me that when it died, it displayed a message about "write past end of media". I did a little digging and discovered that I may have set up the system up wrong -- thus when it went to save the session it malfunctioned and bricked the USB stick. I played around with a SD card and got it working again! The SD card doesn't have much space, so I ordered a bigger stick.

Aside from that revelation, the typical day's work focused on the blog script until thunderstorms moved in and kicked me off the computer for the evening. (hence no journal entry)

This was when things changed in an unexpected way. Mom wanted to run some errands, and so did I. I wanted to pick up some software I'd looked at over at Target and Staples (as opposed to using Amazon and paying shipping on something I can get locally). Mom could get her milk and stuff at Target, so we opted to head that direction. We also hit the game exchange on the way and bought the Christmas gift for a niece of mine.

Staples had the software I wanted, plus a nifty disc of 3,000 fonts. I'm always looking for a good font, so I figured I'd get it too.

The trip went smoothly at Target as well. The software I wanted from there was still on the shelf and we were ready to go. As we headed to the checkout, I decided to gamble on the card pack isle (which is directly next to the checkouts). Now they haven't carried My Little Pony blind bags yet, and I doubted they would now, but I figured I'd check anyway. Someone had reported finding them with the foil-packed card games instead of the toys; I'd never thought to look there, so I was curious.

I didn't find My Little Pony anything. What I did find surprised me: I found a box of foil blind bags for a competitor: Filly. Promising one of 85 2" figures with a chance at a rare figure, these looked like My Little Trademark Infringement Lawsuits. So naturally I grabbed a couple for fun. I mean, they are the same price as the blind bags ($2).

I opened one in the car and was blown away. The other four were opened immediately upon getting home. This line completely pwns My Little Pony in the toy department. Quite a bit of Friday was spent scouring the web for more information on it. I had a real hard time finding anything about it. I'm not sure if they are just being launched in the US or are being phased out. But what I did find was mind-blowing:

* These are better quality figures than the My Little Pony blind bags for the same price. For example, there's four color variants per character and none of the 21 characters share a mold. MLP demoted a main character (Fluttershy) to a recolor and makes 30+ characters with only 5 unique molds.

* There are play sets featuring furniture and accessories. MLP has stuff like this for the full size figures, but they have little resemblance to the show. For a real coup de grace, Filly also has a huge honkin' castle set that has lights, sounds, a working draw bridge and other features that utterly shame the Canterlot Castle Wedding play set.

* Filly blind bags also include stickers showing the characters doing various fun things. They resemble good MLP:FIM fanart interestingly enough. And they are numbered so collector freaks can collect the entire sticker set (I'm not going to, but the option is there). By comparison, the MLP blind bags come with a card that tells you that the green colored Applejack likes candy.

* Equestria is ruled by the two Princesses, Celestia and Luna. The Filly Kingdom is ruled by Emperor Karus and Empress Diva, and it's also broken into five sub-kingdoms ruled by their children. Oh, and a map of the Filly Kingdom and the bloodline of the nobility is included with each figure. We've never seen a detailed map of Equestria and have no idea about the family trees of most characters.

Talk about stiff competition!

...I also worked on the blog scripts a bit and went to bed early. I was too tired to write coherently, so I didn't make an entry.

This day was largely spent visiting with some family that dropped by. Long story short, this was a long visit and it consumed most of the day.

I also managed to get my collectaholic cousin hooked on My Little Pony. One of her first questions was one many Bronies have asked Hasbro: "Why doesn't Applejack come with her hat?"

Since the next day was going to be spent on things other than projects and storms were predicted, I worked on installing games on the SD card based Linux distro so I could play games on the dead laptop while the thunder roared over head. I ended up installing too much and killed the install. Fortunately the card was still usable, so I fussed with other means of making it work and found a work around. This took several hours, and after the busy visit I was too burnt out to make an entry.

No work on projects, as planned. Instead I focused on making the SD card system have a number of games and other goodies ready for use. Naturally I also played them some. There's some more I could do with that set up, but ultimately I left it for later. There was no journal entry as thunderstorms were still going on when I was ready to turn in and the laptop's battery was about to die.

My new USB stick arrived, so part of the day was spent setting that up to run the World Community Grid. It correctly shuts down and reboots, so everything should continue to work from now on. I was also going to give it a nice zombie pony background (befitting its status as an undead machine), but ultimately I opted to use a Nurse Redheart background (befitting the WCG's work to save lives). Several results have already been returned.

Much of the rest of the day was spent getting the blog script further along. I also finally took a look at the software I picked up on Friday. The word processing software turned out to be a dud: it offers nothing over the editor I wrote myself. Fortunately it was cheap. The other program is an art and animation suite that looks like it'll be a lot of fun to mess with once I read the tutorials.

Anywho, today is the last day of winter. It's time to welcome spring!

Sing it with me now!

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