Thursday, December 11, 2008

Batman (1989) revisited

A certain song ("Another Man's Rhubarb" -Pop Will Eat Itself) reminded me of the 1989 Batman movie. Having not seen it for about 8 years I decided to take a look at the IMDB quotes page for the film. Many have compared and contrasted Joker from the 1989 film and the 2008 film, and the general consensus is that the 2008 Joker better captures the essence of the character.

I can easily agree that the whole Jack Napier backstory in the '89 film is a terrible departure from the origin-less Joker of the comics. Joker is a great character because he is more important as a metaphore than as a villain. Clearly, this is what the '08 film hammered in again and again. But where I feel that Joker fell short was living up to his name, and this is where the script for the '89 Batman film really shines. The '89 Joker has a real zest for life. He just wants to have the expense of others' lives. You get the feeling that Batman is like a stern parent to a hyperactive child. I love this Joker, because the Joker metaphore is there, but it's subtle. He is both portrayed as the antithesis of Batman and his equal without hitting the viewer on the head with the idea.

The real issue at hand, I feel, is not that the '89 Joker is a poor joker (ignoring the origin story), but that Jack Nicholson was a poor choice. The criticism suggests that we weren't watching Joker but Jack. Although I think he's an excellent fit for the character, I can see the critics' point. To those critics, I say: read the script and invision your choice of Joker, and maybe you too can enjoy my favorite Joker.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I can admit it now: I love Goo.

I recently started playing a wonderful new game. It's got charm and wit and it's a fun challenge, but never so hard that I want to stop. It's called:

World Of Goo

It's a physics-based puzzle game in which you must construct structures with goo balls in an effort to to get as many goo balls as you can into a pipe. The graphics a smooth and simple, the music rivals some movie scores (reminds me a little of Danny Elfman at times), and the game-play is a pleasure.

Go, get dirty.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lies he has told

I'm not usually one for just linking to people's blogs in my blog, because it just helps invalidate the existence of my blog, but to those who do read my blog, but neglect Primate Brow Flash, please take a moment and read this entry: Lies I have told.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Halloween Movie Script

For your enjoyment, I've written a short screenplay entitled: MissDial. The tag line is "They Missed By One Number."

Woman: beautiful brunette in early 20's, has soft voice
Man on phone: has raspy voice

[INTERIOR: Dimly lit living room]

Phone rings.


Man on phone coughs.

W:Can I help you?
W:No, I'm sorry, you must have the wrong number.
M:I don't think so.
W:Well, there's no Susan here.
M:Is this 555-2415?
W:No, it's 555-2416.

We hear the man hangup abruptly.

Cut to black. Roll credits.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Economic stimulus gifting

These days, it's easy to travel all the way to your local and buy your friend a birthday gift of the latest Eddie Murphy flop on DVD. You can even send it to him directly. Heck, you can even include a nice note, saying how much you appreciate him as a friend. But really, a kick in the shins and passing him a twenty next time you see him would do just as well.

In these trying economic times we need to be sure that what we're spending our hard earned money on is worthwhile. So why not redirect that money towards a gift that not only means something (besides showing your poor taste in films), but is beneficial to our economy?

Instead of trekking all the way to, type in fewer letters and go to There you can find a wide range of handmade goods that can be shipped directly to your friend, and to top it off, you're sending that money to a disgruntled artisan who will be happy to drown their sorrows in booze and more art supplies, thus directly stimulating our economy.

So next time you have the urge to share with your best friend the delights of a man in a lady's fat suit, think again, and buy them something unique that will not show them how little you know about quality movie-making. And when you're done, you can sit back in your chair and imagine your new favorite artist running out and buying one bottle of paint and six bottles of beer.

Excuse me, I have to go rewind my VHS of The Klumps.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I'm A Conspirator!

Last night I went to my very first International Cartoonist Conspiracy meeting. The ICC meets at various locations once a month and does a comic jam. Despite what you might have heard, this does not involve cutting up comics, adding pectin, cooking and jarring. Instead, each person gets one blank (but numbered) page. A theme is decided upon, and each person creates the first panel on that page. Then the pages are passed around, each person continuing the story on that page. The final panel(s) must be linked to the next page's first panel, thus creating one (theoretically) coherent comic at the end of the night!

The Minneapolis branch is a great group of people to work with. They meet the first Thursday of each month at Diamonds Coffee Shoppe in Minneapolis at 6:30pm. It's a great time, anyone can participate, and they do NOT require you to be good at drawing or writing. Just bring your creative juices (and fruit pectin).

Side note: I've been informed that last night's comic will be part of a gallery show at Altered Esthetics called "Happy Holidaze" which will run Dec 4-20th.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Trying on other peoples' shoes

It's true: you can never really know what it's like for someone until you're (metaphorically) standing in their shoes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nothing says class like a nylon track suit and a tie

Feel free to replace the tie with a bolo or ascot.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Name/Job correlation?

My mother likes to joke that everyone in IT is named Dave. As it turns out, I've never worked with anyone named Dave. Not in IT, not outside of IT that I can remember.

However, I've found that working in the financial sector I'm currently working in the same office as 6 Michaels. There are a total of 7 in the company. Does working in finance attract people of a certain name? Are there other jobs that seem to attract more of one name than others?

Maybe there's just an over-abundance of Michaels in the area.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Feeling poor? Just convert a 5 dollar bill into Zimbabwe Dollars

Right now, the Zimbabwe Dollar is worth a whopping 0.00000000005353 USD. So go ahead and exchange some of your money, heck, even a penny, for millions of Zimbabwe Dollars!

And for some delightfully depressing reading, check out Dr. Gono's statement on the current state of monetary affairs in Zimbabwe. It makes you long for the Weimar Republic!

The (Really, Really) Dark Knight

I was going to write a long review of The Dark Knight, but since

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New York City?!

Get the rope.

Actually, get me stuff to do! I'm heading to NYC from July 24th-29th. I'll be hanging out with my sister some of the time, but during work hours on the weekdays I'll likely be on my own. I'm sure I'll go hit all the museums and such, but I want to hear about cool places to go and things to do that are rarely (if ever) in a guidebook.

Lay it on me, while I go get me some Texas salsa.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

My perfect cup of coffee at work

I'll admit it: I'm cheap. If I can get free food, I'll take it. So if I have the choice between free hot coffee and pay-for cold soda, I'll take the coffee. The problem here is that I don't like hot coffee very much. I do, however, love iced coffee.

There are a few ways to make iced coffee, the easiest is to just drop a bunch of ice in a hot cup of joe and be done with it. This is terrible, unless you like weak, diluted coffee.

I take a long, drawn out route, but the results are exactly what I crave (and it's free). Here's how I do it:

1) Pour hot coffee into mug (I prefer less caffeine, so it's half decaf and half regular)
2) Add sugar to taste [optional]
3) Stir the heck out of the coffee while you work until it's cooled
4) Place mug into refrigerator until cold (10 minutes)
5) Place mug into freezer until really cold (5 minutes or so)
6) Enjoy!

Although the entire process takes over an hour (using a nice coffee mug hinders the cooling process a lot), what comes out at the end is a perfectly strong, ice cold cup of coffee.

So tell me, coffee drinkers, what laborious route do you take for your perfect cup of joe?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yvonne's Original No Streaks Microfiber Cloth

I recently attended the Back To The 50's car show at the Minnesota State Fair grounds. At one of the vendor booths there was a simple product called "Yvonne's Original No Streaks Microfiber Cloth." They had a plain old window, a bucket of water, and one of their cloths. My father and I tested them. I even had the guy wipe my glasses with them. It appeared that the product worked! We were guaranteed that the product would live up to our expectations, or our money back.

I decided the best test would be on my bathroom mirror. It needed a little cleaning anyhow. I did a thorough cleaning with my trusty sponge. My mirror looked beautiful and streak-free. Then I did a very simple wipe with the cloth (lightly damp, as directed). My mirror looked exactly the same. I wasn't disappointed, but the fact that my sponge was just as good left me feeling like I'd been had.

But that was only part 1 of my experiment.

Part 2 involves the one thing that always kills a beautiful window: fog. Every time I clean my car, I'm always thrilled at the results...until it gets too humid out. Then I can't see anything but streaks. So to simulate this, I closed my bathroom door and started a hot shower. This is really where the truth comes out. My sponged side was the usual, broad, flat strokes of streaks. And Yvonne's Original No Streaks Microfiber Cloth?

Well, I guess you can't call them streaks. But the promise on the package of "spot free" isn't exactly accurate. The way water dries from the cloth wipe is in tiny little specks of water. Each and every one of these comes out when the glass gets foggy.

Was this better or worse then my sponge? That's a good question. Initially, the microfiber side looked like it wasn't even picking up the fog; it was amazing! The space between the specks was clean and clear. As the fog became more dense, the broad, flat streaks from the sponge became evenly covered in moisture, whereas the specks from the microfiber cloth stuck around. In the end, I was more easily able to see myself in the half of the mirror that the sponge had wiped.

The final verdict? Although these cloths are not pope-sanctioned miracles, they do provide ease of use and protection against minor fogging. I'd recommend them to anyone who is looking for a simple solution to cleaning glass, but doesn't need to polish camera lenses for a trip to the rainforest.

Update: I own a professional-grade CRT monitor that has a glass coating on it that's very delicate. This has always been very hard to clean properly, because you can't use anything but water, and even then you don't want to accidentally short the tube. Yvonne's cloth cleaned off all the fingerprints, left the coating intact, and a quick wipe with a cotton cloth made my monitor look like new. It was worth it right there.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Updates: Movies VS Games

When George Lucas re-released Star Wars, he replaced bad rubber puppets with fancy CGI, added more scenes, and changed others. This led to nerds around the world crying out in anger (much like Darth Vader in Ep III) because the movie from their childhood was modified and thus ruined.

This never happens to video games.

When a game is updated everyone is happy. In fact, most gamers want to see their favorite games updated for the next-gen consoles. Who doesn't want to see the flat, pixel-ridden Mario from Super Mario Bros. changed into a beautifully drawn cartoon Mario? Heck, add in some extra levels too. Why don't we toss in some new enemies while we're at it? As long as Nintendo kept what was good about it (the gameplay), so very few would ever be bothered by the update. And those that were bothered are probably content playing the original anyhow.

What is it that makes video games different? Why do we mourn the loss of our childhood when a movie we liked gets a fresh polish, but cheer when we see a new update come down the pipe for our favorite game?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Getting spun-up on piracy

Nothing gets me more frustrated than people sticking their fingers in their ears because it's easier to maintain the status quo than to admit they might be wrong and change something. Today's frustration comes from the video gaming industry.

This here is a long-winded article discussing why PC game piracy isn't the real problem. Please take the time to read it. Maybe someone with some clout in the industry will read it and take a stand. If nothing else, perhaps it will help garner enough support in the general populous to get some positive changes made.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Let us welcome the 128th note's full name into our vocabularies. "Billy, do play this group of sixteen quasihemidemisemiquavers; it sounds lovely."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Two heads are better than one

When two people are paired correctly, pair programming works beautifully. There's always that second set of eyes, The Nodding Dummy, sitting right there with you, ensuring that your stupid, little mistakes are fixed as you write the code.

As opposed to later, when you're busy tearing your hair out, and praying you don't get fired for incompetency.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Movin' on, uh over, to the, uh, west side...

Well, I'm not quite moving up, nor am I moving east, but I've moved. Or at least my stuff has moved. I'm still settling in ( read: unpacking).

Thanks to all my friends who helped me load and unload and haul furniture, I owe ya one (or two).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sending a mixed security signal

I have recently experienced what some might say is a gross security oversight. At a certain company every employee is required to lock all company data in their drawers before leaving for the night. This is obviously to prevent easy theft of non-public material data. There is nothing wrong with this practice.

However, this same company has no policy regarding its paper trash. Most people toss their old printouts in the trash or recycle bin. Yes, those who work with highly sensitive data do shred their printouts. However, the majority of the employees have had little to no security training, and not having a policy regarding sensitive printouts sends a very mixed message about corporate security.

So listen up kids, don't so this, it just makes you vulnerable, and teaches poor security to your employees. Also, it makes security wonks cry. No one wants to see that.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Singing accents

Does anyone have a good explanation why some people sound like they're from elsewhere when they're singing? AC/DC never sounds Austrailian, Styx sounds British half the time.

Then again, no matter how hard the Scorpions try, they always sound like they're from Germany.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Like vultures to roadkill

Someone walked out of the conference room next door and said "there's wraps and stuff going to waste in there." First I thought, "no, surely someone must want them." So I waited, but the call of the vulture was too loud. So I asked my neighbor, "did he just say free food?" Upon agreement, we both carefully tiptoed our way over to the room. Like a pair of siblings sneaking downstairs to see what Santa brought, we maed our way to the food.

Lo and behold, there really were wraps! Greedily, we took our spoils and as we were leaving we saw that the news had already traveled far and wide; there were packs of hungry men making their way across the office in search of the fabled carrion.

As I sat at my desk nibbling on my food, I watched the men walk out with their portions, smiling, happy, victorious. Now I know how the vulture feels after devouring the carcass of some large rodent: a little gassy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The hi-def update

It appears as though the format war may be coming to an end. HD-DVD looks like it's about to die, and Blu-Ray is still going strong (well, relatively anyway). It's not the side I would have liked to see win, but at least this silly war is nearly over. I just hope HD-DVD concedes Blu-Ray's win soon and allows us to finally get our hi-def on without worrying if it will be the wrong choice.

Ironically, things are not as clear-cut if you want to buy a hi-def TV. As it stands, there are leaps and bounds being made in both the image quality and the display size, as well as the display type. Currently we're seeing LCD and Plasma as what's hot, but OLED and SED are around too, and promise all sorts of good stuff. Even if you stuck with the current image leader, plasma, you'd still be best to hold off. Despite Pioneer creating what's been touted as the best TV ever, they've already shown us that they've got slimmer and better coming in a couple of years. If you're going to spend $6000 on a high-end TV, you'd like it to not be out-dated in 2 years. As far as CRTs go, we've hit the point where it's as good as it gets, I'm curious to see how long it takes for plasma to get there. ...You know, unless SED grows up.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The contractions are getting worse, doct'r

I just had an IM conversation in which the response to my request for confirmation was:
"Ok, I'll".

This is an amazing use of a contraction. Technically speaking, "I'll" means "I will". Saying "Ok, I will" is a perfectly acceptable response to my request, yet something seems so very wrong about using that contraction there.

Do I think he might do it again? I think he'll.