Saturday, November 29, 2008

"When the chips are down, these 'civilized' people will eat each other."

In the most awesome comic-book superhero movie ever, the Joker's plans is simple: demonstrate how civilization is an illusion. He wants to show that, given the right trigger, anyone will abandon whatever rules society generally follows. The Joker is not insane. The Joker is the only one who can see the truth.

In other to achieve his goal, the Joker threatens to blow up a hospital if a certain man isn't killed by a certain time. When that plan fails, the Joker places explosives in ferries evacuating the city and gives a detonator to each boat that has the capability to destroy the other boat. Apparently all he needed to do was to have a sale...

Here's the summary: During Black Friday a Wal-Mart employee who was hired as a temp for the holiday season was trampled to death. This occurred as restless shoppers broke through the glass doors of the store, knocking over the employees on the other side and, quite literally, walked all over them. While the New York store was being evacuated, shoppers were told of the accident, but resisted the evacuation on the grounds that they've "been [waiting] on line since yesterday morning."

What the fuck is wrong with people?

Easter Eggs IN THE FACE!

What the hell happened to the human sense of humor? I'm pretty sure people used to have one.

I was reading this slashdot article today, "Would You Add Easter Eggs To Software Produced At Work?" Obviously the answer is, "depends" but far too many people were arguing that the answer is "no, absolutely not, it's completely unacceptable under any circumstances." They all had horrible reasons behind their stance and it really could all be boiled down to a complete and utter lack of personality. Here are their arguments, and my counter-arguments:

"It's unprofessional"

It certainly could be. Depends on your Easter Egg. If your Easter Egg is a pop-up window with a picture of the naked development team, I would call that unprofessional (unless you're in the porn industry). If your Easter Egg is a picture of your development team that wouldn't offend your grandmother, I would call that tasteful and safe.

"It's unethical"

Apparently it's unethical to write any code, regardless of how harmless it is, without management consent. I don't necessarily think it needs to be without consent in order to be Easter Egg. It's an egg hunt for the users, not for the company. I'm of the impression most of these Easter Eggs were done with full authorization. I would agree that unauthorized code is unethical, but I don't see why this has to be the case.

"It could introduce bugs/it inhibits functionality"

One poster went as far as quoting statistics related to total lines of code and expected number of defects and bugs. Clearly a complete lack of understanding of statistics. In a random sample of code those stats are valuable, but when you're limiting yourself to a specific category it's just useless. I replied by asking that poster when was the last time he tracked down a nasty bug to the About window of his software. As to the functionality argument, most people have used Microsoft products for a long time, and despite all the pain and suffering that caused, I doubt any of it was related to the hidden code linked above.

I leave you with one cool Easter Egg to all my Macbook Pro pals:
  1. Open a Terminal window
  2. Type "say -v Good" <enter>
  3. Type a long string of "oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" spanning about 9 lines (A shorter string does work if you have no patience, John--but you won't get the complete effect). Hit <enter>
  4. Enjoy (or be pissed off at the lack of professionalism, ethics, and overall usability of your mac and the "say" command)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving is for the Birds

I most certainly come for the bird, more than the family aspect. Yes, I know...I'm a selfish bastard.

To my good friend who was unable to travel to see his family this thanksgiving: I ate some extra turkey in your honor. It was tough, but somebody had to remember you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Suckage in Kevin Smith's Porno

Zack and Miri Make a Porno has been getting a spanking from a lot of two-bit critics who should seriously consider earning their two-bits in another profession. A much older profession. I mean whoring. They should whore themselves out for money and they should charge two-bits, or twenty-five cents (seriously, the Brits apparently made coinage worth 12.5 cents).

People who know me are now envisioning my nemesis, Roger Ebert, in that role. I'm sorry for the imagery but, if it's any consolation, I don't mean him this time. Ebert has written a surprisingly accurate review of the movie, calling it dirty but innoffensive. I can agree with that. Unless you're fundamentally opposed to four-letter words (good lord; drop dead, dude) or have a severe problem with nudity (haha, you're an evolutionary dead-end), nothing in this movie can offend you. Lots in this movie will shock you--but after your eyes finish bleeding you'll be laughing, not storming out in anger.

Kevin Smith supposedly once said to Ebert, "I don't know shit about directing, but I'm a fucking good writer." In the above review Ebert agreed that Smith is indeed a fucking good writer. I'll go one step further and say that Smith is underselling himself as a director. He's not great, but he does have two qualities I rarely see in other directors: he improves with every movie he makes (compare Clerks to Mallrats to Dogma to Zack and Miri) and he values the movie over the cash. In An Evening with Kevin Smith, Kevin relates that he was once told, "this isn't about making a movie with your friends." He then proceeds to tell us he took a huge budget cut (apparently without fully considering how this would affect his friend and producer, Scott Mosier) in order to just make the movie he wants, with his friends. That type of dedication is what not selling out means.

Other critics don't agree. A review by Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly and CNN claims that Kevin shuns "compositional coherence" as a way of not selling out. If you want to see a movie that lacks "compositional coherence," see Primer. If you can't follow the simple plot behind Zack and Miri, it's not the writer or director's fault, you're just not in the category of people who should be movie critics. Lisa obviously can't follow the movie well enough to see that the sex action she calls "silly" is an over-the-top commentary on the silliness of actual porn. She can't get past the "sophomoric" jokes to see beyond the moral of the story you've been bludgeoned with (making love is different from having sex) to the autobiographical story of making your first movie. Zack makes his porno in much the same way Kevin made Clerks. Both Kevin and Zack shot their movies at their workplace, both seriously indebted themselves in order to fund the creation of their movies, and both hired their friends who couldn't act to be in the movie. Zack just went a bit more over the top for comedic effect. She also, for some reason, thinks Justin Long is in the movie in some type of "secret cameo" and she's therefore unwilling to reveal this "spoiler" even though Justin shows up in the fucking trailer. The other "famous" person Lisa refers to is Brandon Routh. Unless you're a Superman fan, you don't know who he is.

Philip French argues on the same side as Lisa, saying "this limp comedy about a porn movie is neither erotic nor funny." First of all, if you thought this movie was going to be erotic you, again, shouldn't be in the movie critiquing business. Second, what the hell is up with all the puns and innuendos? I'm sure you've noticed how I've resisted. I would never go down there, to that level. I'm bigger than that. I dig in deep for my jokes, and I'm not afraid to give a good tongue lashing to those I believe deserve it.

Despite the banned poster, there's no suckage in this movie. Solid comedy, 5/7.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TrekkieGod Gives In, Joins "Blogosphere"

After years of being angry at social websites, opinions from random idiots, and the term "blogosphere," TrekkieGod has finally given in. The famous obnoxious rants previously available only to close and personal friends will now become available to people with internet connections anywhere in the world.

So stop listening to all those other idiots and start listening to this one.