Posted on March 18th, 2023
Back in February a friend sent me a photo of a neon sign they had bought and said it would be cool if I were to make a Bad Monkey neon so I could sell them. And he included a link to a company called YellowPop... a company that custom-makes "neon-style" light-up signs out of LED strip-lights and flexible plastic covers.
I went to their site, looked around, and started thinking that, yes, this would be incredibly cool to do.
So I looked at the color of tubing they had available and drew up a couple options that I could send to them to see if it were feasible...
I was assigned a sales team contact and quickly got back a rendering of what they could do...
As much as I liked the idea of Bad Monkey picking his nose, I thought that the overlapping yellows were a bit confusing. So I decided on Bad Monkey flashing a peace-sign... then asked if they could add the lettering below it. I also asked to have it flipped horizontally. Since people "read" from left-to-right here in the USA, I wanted the peace-sign to be the lead instead of the tail. I also wanted them to add the word PEACE at the bottom to make the piece taller. Within hours I got back a revised composition that looked fantastic.
There was some back and forth as I asked for small changes to be made until I was happy (my favorite being "the arms need to be consistent width, like macaroni"). But, to their credit... my sales rep (Hi Kristina!) never once got aggravated or acted the least bit irritated (even though I'm sure they had to be by the time we finished!)...
No idea why it's practically on the floor now.
The sign ended up quite a bit larger than I had imagined (30×42 inches) when I first drew it, but there's only so tight you can bend the plastic tubing, so this was as small as it could get.
Now, one thing I should say right off the bat is that these signs are expensive. Like really expensive. As in ZOMG I WILL BE EATING PEANUT BUTTER FOR MONTHS! expensive. As in $1,200 expensive. I did a little poking around to see if there were shops making them for less money, and there were, but not one of them had the glowing reviews that YellowPop had, and that was worth it to me. What good is saving $300 if the result is crap?
Wiping out the entirety of my Black Sunday savings, I wrote back to my most excellent YellowPop rep to order it.
Fast-forward a couple weeks and my order has shipped. It arrived on Friday.
And, let me tell you... it is GORGEOUS. I had fairly high expectations given how much money I spent, but YellowPop went just... beyond. I unboxed it, plugged it in, and literally gasped when it lit up...
If you look real hard, you can see Jake down there checking it out!
Originally, I was going to hang it in the corner of my living room. But it was so phenomenally good that I just couldn't do it. I cleared out a wall in my dining room so it had plenty of space to breathe and be fully appreciated.
But how to hang it?
The instructions they give you are pretty vague. Essentially "Pop in those drywall anchors, attach the metal pegs, then screw your sign to it! The end!" Problem is that with a sign this big you would need to have two people hold it into position, pencil through the holes in the acrylic backing onto the wall, then install the metal pegs. But I didn't want to have to bother two friends or neighbors on a weekend, so I decided to trace the sign onto the cardboard sheet that came in the shipping box. Then I could cut out the tracing, tape it to the wall, and know where to put the holes all by myself...
Ask for help? I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel. I'll do it myself!
The metal mounting pegs are actually very smart, because they set the sign out away from your wall, which makes it look more like glass tubing instead of something that's flat against the surface...
One thing I did to make it easier to hang alone was to move the sign a tiny bit off-center so that the mounting peg at the top was firmly anchored square into a wall stud. Then I could screw in that peg long enough to hold up the sign so I could screw in the rest. If I hadn't put it into a stud, it was heavy enough that it would probably have ripped out from the drywall if I tried this.
And there you have it. My amazing new Monkey Peace sign is up...
LOVE IT!!! ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!
The problem with this photo is that you can't tell just how incredible this looks in person. The "neon" looks all blown out and blurry in photos... whereas in Real Life, it is perfectly defined and has a beautiful glow to it. Looks very much like actual neon from any angle until you get close and see that it's not really glass tubes. Remarkably, the light is diffused enough that it appears solid, not at all looking like a bunch of little LEDs.
UPDATE: When it gets dark, the light is even more impressive. Gorgeous. Photos still don't do it justice though...
One piece of advice... spring for the dimming remote control ($29). The sign is actually more impressive when it's not at full brightness, and it's nice to be able to turn it off and on from across the room...
Yes, as you can see, my cats are clearly unimpressed.
So, yeah... thrilled with the whole experience from start to finish. If you're looking to have custom "neon" of your own, I highly recommend YellowPop for the job! They're expensive, but worth every last penny. I cannot stop staring at it.
I guess now I'll be saving up for my next piece. This turned out too good not to.
Posted on December 25th, 2021
Thanks for spending another year with me here at Blogography! Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons for what's been a rather awful year. Again.
I'd wish for a better Christmas next year, but I did that in 2020 and look what happened!
Posted on March 26th, 2021
A second entry for Friday? Lucky you!
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you undoubtedly are aware of my Disney theme park obsession. Heck, I even designed my own parody theme park DaveLand because my Disney love goes pretty deep...
I collect the map pamphlets from the Disney parks. I have the wall maps. I bought the map book. And every time Disney announces anything new or any kind of expansion, I am compelled to figure out what they're going to do and how they're going to do it.
The lastest news is more announcements for the Disneyland Resort "Westside Expansion" which will turn a bunch of parking lots into an expanded hotel/shopping/dining/entertainment experience...
Now, this concept illustration is not in any way final (indeed, it looks like the previous plans for the "Mickey Mouse Hotel" have been drastically altered or scrapped... and does anybody remember the plans for "Westcot?"). And it's a bit deceptive, which we'll get to in a minute. But you can see that the idea is to add more stuff to snag tourist dollars than they already do. Looks like there's a lazy river tube ride to the left there. The above-mentioned "Mickey Hotel" in the middle. Three entirely new hotels to the far right. A live stage venue just in front of them. And of course more shopping and dining. Disney quite clearly doesn't want you sleeping, shopping, or dining at anything except Disney-owned properties.
As I was saying, the illustration is a bit deceptive though because about 1/3 is already developed with The Disneyland Hotel and Disney Paradise Pier Hotel, which will be surrounded by new construction (which I've shaded in magenta)...
Yellow shading is over Disneyland and California Adventure so you can compare sizing. Suffice to say, this is not a small endeavor... nor will it be cheap. I'm not sure where all that parking will go. Could be it will be constructed underground. Could be they will expand the Pumba lot that's wayyyy off to the East or the Toy Story lot that's wayyyy off to the Southwest (see below) to be a multi-story garages like they did for the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking structures that are in the upper-left corner of the map.
It's interesting to note that Disneyland is pretty much at its limit here. To the South is the Anaheim Convention Center. To the North and West is suburban sprawl with hundreds of homes that Disney would have to purchase.
But then there's the land to the East.
And here's where my speculation takes a bit of a sinister turn.
Right now, most of the land to the east is occupied by a bunch of hotels, with the exception of the afore-mentioned Pumba Parking lot (outlined in cyan) which I'm guessing is owned by Disney. The red outline is the land I'm talking about...
Unfortunately for Disney, there's a shopping Mall to the South of the Eastern region that's likely there to stay unless Disney acquires it (if they haven't already) in which case they could rebrand it as yet another Disney shopping experience.
But let's think about this for a second.
The Disneyland Resort Westside Expansion has at least four high-capacity hotels planned. That's going to take business away from the hotels which popped up to the East of Disneyland. Which means the price to buy them out may cheapen. After enough lost business, they may consider selling to Disney... something that's inconceivable as things currently stand because their occupancy must (normally) be pretty darn high and very profitable. And once that first hotel domino falls... and Disney re-themes it as a Disney hotel... and people flock to it because Disney dangles enough perks... and more hotels lose more business... well, it's not difficult to see how it might be "bye bye Candy Cane Inn"... followed by the rest of them one-by-one.
This, of course, is all conjecture. It could be that Disney has zero interest in the budget hotel business, or that the existing hotels will continue to be so popular that the selling price would be insane. Or maybe the chain-owned hotels don't care about lost business and just want a Disney-adjacent property in their portfolio. It's hard to say. All I know is that both parks are overcrowded year' round now, so maybe it's worth it to Disney to buy everything up... and simply not provide budget lodging. At least not as it looks right now. A Disney "Budget Hotel" will be cheaper when compared to their other hotels, but still Disney-pricey. Because if there's one thing that Disney knows how to do... it's make money. Lots of it.
And they could, of course, use the land to build a third theme park. Or relocate the structures that are currently to the North of Disneyland so they can expand the park there. Or just shift the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals parking to the East so another big chunk of land opens up for entertainment and hotels on the Westside.
That's not the end to Disney's (estimated) land holdings. They either own or lease a rather large piece of land to the Southeast which is currently the Toy Story parking lot. Not sure if the parking for the hotels/businesses to the North is Disney-owned (that's outlined in green)... but if Disney does own this, they could build a massivley huge parking structure which could replace all the lost parking for Westside... and absorb parking for any hotels they buy, which could then be expanded or rebuilt... or replaced with more theme park to attract more customers (or maybe spread the crowds out a bit)...
© Google Maps
All I do know is that Disney gobbling up that Eastern parcel... along with the area above the Toy Story parking lot... creates a nicely contiguous chunk of land which would nearly double what they have now.
Not that contiguous land is essential. Just look at Walt Disney World. Build another monorail or an air-tram... or expand the bus system... and that third theme park could end up in the Southwest section. Or anywhere, really. I remember reading how Disney wanted to expand to a beachfront property in L.A. or something. Heaven only knows how much land in the greater L.A. area they own either directly or via shell companies.
What I wouldn't give to work for the team at Disney which gets to plan all this stuff. That's my dream job right there. But since I don't, all I can do is have fun speculating and be excited for what's coming next.
Until then, there's always Daveland.
UPDATE: Well looky what we have here... a site that Disney created to shame Anaheim into rezoning their property for multi-use purposes called Disneyland Forward. It doesn't do anything to curb speculation because it's just Disney tossing out ideas, but it does clarify a few things. First of all is their plans for expanding into the Westside property and Northward...
Note that Disneyland gets an addition to the West, so those weren't hotels, they were attraction buildings. The only hotel expansion looks to be another tower for Paradise Pier?
Which is not to say that Disney couldn't change their mind and drop a bunch of hotels once they get their way so that they can still buy out everything to the East and raze it for a third theme park. And idea which still makes a lot of sense. Though remember that land to the Southeast? Hotel and shopping have been dropped there as an example of what could happen...
Interesting stuff! You can see everything for yourself at Disneyland Forward.
Posted on December 25th, 2020
Not the best holiday season, but here's hoping you're making the best you can out of it.
Posted on June 16th, 2020
Washington State already had workplace protections for LGBTQ persons since 2006, but now it's been rolled out nation-wide thanks to a Supreme Court ruling which expanded upon "sex discrimination" to include sex, sexuality, and gender identity.
Naturally, conservatives are losing their fucking minds. They want to be able to "fire them queers" in places like Mississippi and Alabama, I guess.
Their argument seems to revolve around "textualism." Which is to say that the people who wrote the law concerning sexual discrimination couldn't have foreseen things like sexuality and gender identity at the time, so you can't read them into a modern interpretation of the original legislation. Which is hilarious, of course. When the Second Amendment was written, they couldn't have foreseen high-powered assault rifles and automatic weapons, but that hasn't stopped conservatives from saying Americans should be free to own all kinds of advanced weaponry based on what was once written.
Oh well. It's the Supreme Court's job to interept that shit, not mine. And it seems they are on the right side of history this time (surprisingly led by Trump nominee Justice Neil Gorsuch, textualist supreme). Though the dissenting opinions are laughable to knee-slapping extremes if, for no other reason, because they spell out in no uncertain terms exactly how the ruling can be used to support things they detest. I expect this kind of embarrassing idiocy from a dumbass frat-bro like Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but I somehow thought Justice Alito was more devious, more savvy. Apparently his frustration with not being able to stop progress has turned him into that old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.
Guess he can just stay mad.
And speaking of staying mad...
I worked way too late last night. I think I finally fell asleep around 1:30am. When I woke up five hours later, I wasn't necessarily tired... but my eyes were burning. And they continued to burn all day long. Finally around 3:30pm I just couldn't see any longer and came home to take a nap. My cats woke me up at 5:55pm because the Alexa alarm was blaring downstairs. It was their dinner time and they were not happy that I dared to sleep through it.
And here we are, hours later, and they are still mad about it.
Something tells me I had better not be late with breakfast tomorrow.
Posted on February 14th, 2020
As much as I wasn't a fan of Valentine's Day before, I am especially not a fan now.
I've been trying really, really hard to change my attitude about stuff that just doesn't matter (like Valentine's Day) but it's proving incredibly difficult. In a day and age where everything is shit that's impossible to escape, even the little things can be completely overwhelming.
In the State of The Union address a week ago, Cheeto Jesus said "I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been."... then a couple days ago he cut Federal employee raises that were scheduled because of "serious economic conditions." So which the fuck is it? Do we have the best economy that the entire universe has ever known... or is it in the toilet? Like most things in life, both statements are probably true. For billionaires and mega-millionaires, the economy is the best it's been in decades. For everybody else, it's not so great. Partly because of rising costs. Partly because we keep losing things that our taxes have traditionally paid for. Take, for example, libraries.
The presidents current crusade includes cutting funding for libraries. The only way some people can afford to read books is to borrow them from the library. The only way some people can afford to watch movies is to borrow them from the library. The only way some people can afford to get the news from newspapers and magazines is to borrow them from the library. The only way some people can have access to the internet or a computer is to use them at the library. BUT POOR PEOPLE DON'T MATTER, SO CUTTING THEIR ACCESS TO EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT, AND A WAY TO COMMUNICATE, FIND A JOB, OR JUST FUCKING EXIST IS NO BIG DEAL WHEN BILLIONAIRES NEED TAX CUTS TO PAY FOR THEIR GOLD-PLATED TOILETS, RIGHT?!?
And then there's the little things. Like the desire to live free from deadly diseases. As you may have heard, the Coronavirus is a big deal. Currently in China, but it could end up wrecking havoc here very easily. Then there's the looming threat of old diseases coming back, which scientists warn could be unleashed from thawing permafrost. And yet President Trump is wanting to slash funding to the Center for Disease Control. It's madness.
But we've got billions to transfer to the ineffective and idiotic "Wall" President Trump is hellbent on constructing. Hope it can stop diseases from getting through.
But anyway... Happy Valentine's Day...
For past year's Blogography Valentine cards, click here!
Posted on June 26th, 2019
...love won out and The Supreme Court decreed that marriages were equal in the eyes of the law. Washington State had already legalized same-sex marriage by then, so I was already attending weddings, designing invitations, and celebrating with friends who had wanted to get married, but couldn't because they were told they had the wrong body parts. But now Washington marriages would be recognized in all 50 states, and it was a happy day for everyone.
Except for random people who still aren't happy unless they are shitting on somebody else's happiness. Never mind that two other people getting married doesn't fucking affect them, they don't like the idea of people with matching genitalia getting hitched, so they think they (or their religion) should get to dictate how other people get to live their lives in a country which was founded on personal choice and freedom of/from religion. And now there's talk of marriage equality being overturned by The Supreme Court, which is ludicrous, but not surprising. Next up? Overturning Loving vs. Virginia, which legalized marriage between two races. And why stop there? Next up? Making it so only Christians can get married and only in a church ceremony. After that? Only people with money are allowed to marry. Then only people with money get to have children. Then only people with money get to vote and own property. And why not bring back slavery? This country was built on it, after all.
This lapse in logical thinking is bizarre and makes no sense, but bigotry never does. Oh well. Keep hating, if that's your thing. Meanwhile, everybody else will be moving on...
Or rather, I should say continue moving on, because same-sex marriage is hardly a new concept and has been around as long as history has been around. But bringing logic into the argument never seems to do any good with haters, so I'm going to go make dinner now.
Posted on June 5th, 2019
Lost yet another friend today... an internet friend I had grown quite fond of. He had been in poor health for quite a while but I never thought of him dying, so it still caught me off guard. Grant was a good guy who served his country and would help people out whenever he could. He was also damn funny. He will be missed.
Nine years ago or so, I remembered drawing a Davetoon of Lil' Dave as a "Bunny" for Grant's birthday. Probably not the kind of manga he was hoping for, but you have to draw what you know...
Grant at work during his younger days...
Thank you for your service, sir! I wish the government would have taken better care of you after you risked your life for their decisions.
2019 is not shaping up to be much of an improvement over 2018, the worst year of my life. I guess that point where everybody you know starts departing this earthly plane is coming earlier for me than it does for everybody else?
Doesn't seem fair, but it does feel typical.
Posted on February 14th, 2019
For the first time in nearly 40 years, I didn't buy any flowers for today.
When I was young, my mom would give me money to buy flowers for my grandmother on Valentine's Day. Once I started earning money of my own I carried on, buying grandma flowers every year until she died in 2015. Because of that, it's tough not to think of my grandmother whenever February 14th rolls around. Even those years I had a girlfriend and would load her up with flowers and candy, it was still my grandma's holiday.
I would sometimes buy flowers for my mom, but every time I did she would tell me I should save the money for our next vacation instead. And so I did. Mostly. After she couldn't travel any more I started buying her flowers for Valentine's Day again in the hopes it would brighten her life a bit. Lord only knows she could use it given that her days were spent being confused and confined to a building.
But now she's gone as well.
And I am single.
So no flowers. But I do have my annual Valentine's Day card...
For past year's Blogography Valentine cards, click here!
Posted on July 14th, 2018
We're on fire again and smoke fills the air... but don't despair, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• M-S-G Can You Dig It? Absolutely fascinating...
I don't eat Chinese food hardly at all (it's not very good here, and choices for vegetarians are severely limited)... and yet I've heard the MSG myth forever.
• Monkey Business! In case everybody doesn't know... I put the first volume of Bad Monkey Comix up to read online for free. You can take a look by clicking on this image...
Or you can just click this link!
• New MacBooks! Apple's new "Pro" MacBooks once again lacking the ports that "pros" need to actually FUNCTION in their fucking JOBS. Such a crock of shit. DONGLES! DONGLES EVERYWHERE!!!
I thought that Apple was supposed to be working with pros to find out what they want in "pro" products? I don't think that's true. Otherwise they wouldn't be sticking with a shallow, shitty keyboard and no standard USB ports. At least you get more than one port now. Still no MagSafe, which sucks.
• Science Fact! Tom Bailey's new album, Science Fiction, is here! If you pre-ordered, it has probably arrived (my autographed copy of the deluxe set did!) but you can also listen to it on the usual streaming services. I'm saving my review for another entry, but here's a sneak preview: love it.
• Be You! Oh noes. Roll up on a woman, call her a slut because of what she is wearing, then think that you can then proceed to slut-shame her into submission? Not. This. Woman. Not today. My guess is not any day...
What absolutely kills me about this is how we rave about "American freedom"... but never seem to back that up. Whether it's telling a Muslim woman she's wearing too much... or telling this woman she's wearing too little... everybody is just DYING to tell OTHER PEOPLE HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES. Well fuck that. Live your truth. Be who you are. Defy those who would oppress YOUR FREEDOM by defining what it means for you to be free. So long as you're not endangering others, be free to be you.
• Incompetence. I have been trying very hard to keep politics off of Blogography because I don't want it degrading into a comedy of horrors that makes me want to slit my wrists every time I visit my own blog. But things are so bad right now. So bad. And people don't even seem to realize what's happening. The Trump Administration trade fiasco is probably going to damage this country more than anything so far. Companies are already laying off scores of workers because the reciprocal tariffs are making it impossible for them to operate. It's horrendous, and it's just the beginning. From Professor David Honig...
I’m going to get a little wonky and write about Donald Trump and negotiations. For those who don't know, I'm an adjunct professor at Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law and I teach negotiations. Okay, here goes.
Trump, as most of us know, is the credited author of The Art of the Deal, a book that was actually ghost written by a man named Tony Schwartz, who was given access to Trump and wrote based upon his observations. If you've read The Art of the Deal, or if you've followed Trump lately, you'll know, even if you didn't know the label, that he sees all dealmaking as what we call "distributive bargaining."
Distributive bargaining always has a winner and a loser. It happens when there is a fixed quantity of something and two sides are fighting over how it gets distributed. Think of it as a pie and you're fighting over who gets how many pieces. In Trump's world, the bargaining was for a building, or for construction work, or subcontractors. He perceives a successful bargain as one in which there is a winner and a loser, so if he pays less than the seller wants, he wins. The more he saves the more he wins.
The other type of bargaining is called integrative bargaining. In integrative bargaining the two sides don't have a complete conflict of interest, and it is possible to reach mutually beneficial agreements. Think of it, not a single pie to be divided by two hungry people, but as a baker and a caterer negotiating over how many pies will be baked at what prices, and the nature of their ongoing relationship after this one gig is over.
The problem with Trump is that he sees only distributive bargaining in an international world that requires integrative bargaining. He can raise tariffs, but so can other countries. He can't demand they not respond. There is no defined end to the negotiation and there is no simple winner and loser. There are always more pies to be baked. Further, negotiations aren't binary. China's choices aren't (a) buy soybeans from US farmers, or (b) don't buy soybeans. They can also (c) buy soybeans from Russia, or Argentina, or Brazil, or Canada, etc. That completely strips the distributive bargainer of his power to win or lose, to control the negotiation.
One of the risks of distributive bargaining is bad will. In a one-time distributive bargain, e.g. negotiating with the cabinet maker in your casino about whether you're going to pay his whole bill or demand a discount, you don't have to worry about your ongoing credibility or the next deal. If you do that to the cabinet maker, you can bet he won't agree to do the cabinets in your next casino, and you're going to have to find another cabinet maker.
There isn't another Canada.
So when you approach international negotiation, in a world as complex as ours, with integrated economies and multiple buyers and sellers, you simply must approach them through integrative bargaining. If you attempt distributive bargaining, success is impossible. And we see that already.
Trump has raised tariffs on China. China responded, in addition to raising tariffs on US goods, by dropping all its soybean orders from the US and buying them from Russia. The effect is not only to cause tremendous harm to US farmers, but also to increase Russian revenue, making Russia less susceptible to sanctions and boycotts, increasing its economic and political power in the world, and reducing ours. Trump saw steel and aluminum and thought it would be an easy win, BECAUSE HE SAW ONLY STEEL AND ALUMINUM - HE SEES EVERY NEGOTIATION AS DISTRIBUTIVE. China saw it as integrative, and integrated Russia and its soybean purchase orders into a far more complex negotiation ecosystem.
Trump has the same weakness politically. For every winner there must be a loser. And that's just not how politics works, not over the long run.
For people who study negotiations, this is incredibly basic stuff, negotiations 101, definitions you learn before you even start talking about styles and tactics. And here's another huge problem for us.
Trump is utterly convinced that his experience in a closely held real estate company has prepared him to run a nation, and therefore he rejects the advice of people who spent entire careers studying the nuances of international negotiations and diplomacy. But the leaders on the other side of the table have not eschewed expertise, they have embraced it. And that means they look at Trump and, given his very limited tool chest and his blindly distributive understanding of negotiation, they know exactly what he is going to do and exactly how to respond to it.
From a professional negotiation point of view, Trump isn't even bringing checkers to a chess match. He's bringing a quarter that he insists of flipping for heads or tails, while everybody else is studying the chess board to decide whether its better to open with Najdorf or Grünfeld.
— David Honig
This level of incompetence when it comes to trade is going to completely and totally fuck us. And make no mistake that we, as a country, are fucked. And this is just trade. We are equally fucked in many other areas. Which leads me to believe that President Trump thinks that the era where America was "great" is The Great Depression.
And don't think that just getting a new president in two years is going to fix the problem. The things that have been screwed up may very well take decades to correct. If they are correctable at all.
• Czech! Came home to see Stripes was on this past week. It was at the part where their unit has accidentally crossed the border into Czechoslovakia and so, naturally, they're all going to die. Amazing how international relations have changed within my lifetime. I've been to Czechoslovakia... and China... and Romania... and other countries it was assumed I would never be able to step foot in back in the day...
Of course... thanks to the ineptness of the Trump Administration, we may very well be going back to those times, so I guess I'm happy to have enjoyed it while it lasted. Pretty soon the only place that Americans may be able to travel is Russia and North Korea.
• Which Brings Us To... So... under President Obama we were the laughing stock of the world you say? What about now, you feckless ridiculous ignorant fuck?
The absurdity of where we are as a country keeps hitting new lows.
And, I think that's enough bullets for a smoke-filled Sunday. See you next week!