Several years ago someone discovered that if one removes all the speech bubbles from the comic strip Garfield, it becomes oddly surreal and much more interesting than originally intended. Garfield shows little emotion, behaving exactly as a real cat would. Without Garfield's verbal provocation to justify it, Jon's harried interactions with him become somewhat disturbing, oftentimes even depressing. This, to me at least, is a huge improvement over the original concept of the strip. You can see a bunch of examples of this treatment here.
More recently, someone has taken it a step further and removed Garfield from the strips altogether. This modification moves Jon from the role of the more traditional "cat owner," walking around talking to his pets as if they understand him, to that of a somewhat disturbed individual struggling with loneliness and desperation. In the prior modification, Jon's unprovoked pessimism seems out of place because Garfield is standing there smiling all the time; without Garfield being present at all, however, it ramps up to new levels of disturbnicity, bordering on schizophrenic. This is a significant step forward, making the strip into something I actually look forward to seeing, despite the blatant copyright violations involved in it being presented to me. You can view and subscribe to them here.
These two modifications got me thinking...
Since the removal of speech bubbles improved the strip so much, and the subsequent removal of Garfield even more so, I feel it's up to me to take the strip to the pinnacle of interestingness:
There you have it: confirmation that the removal of elements results in a better Garfield experience. The more elements you remove, the better it gets. I'm not sure of the logic behind this, but I suspect that it comes down to the fact that Garfield really sucks.
Hey, remember when I mistook John McCain for John McClane, linking to livefreeordiehard.com as his campaign page? Well now, COINCIDENTALLY, Twentieth Century Fox Films has done the same thing, even using "Yippie Kay Yay America" as a slogan like I did, linking right from livefreeordiehard.com with a bumper sticker graphic very similar to the one I made. And how were people getting to livefreeordiehard.com to see the advertisement? That's right, those thousands of people were getting there because I had the common decency to link them there.
Granted, I never followed through by making a full-on campaign page because it was too much work for a stupid joke, but it gave Fox the opportunity to show that there is NOTHING TOO STUPID, provided someone comes up with it for them first. On the plus side, their site looks JUST LIKE the one I was going to make, so that's all good. I particularly like the quote about John putting himself in his opponent's shoes. I'd link to it, except that unlike my version of the site, theirs is entirely flash and impossible to use.
Anyway, to the people at 20th Century Fox I only have one thing to say: "You're welcome."
If you do the podcast thing, and I suspect you might, Stephen Fry probably belongs in your subscriptions. Frankly, I am a bit surprised that Jim Dale isn't recording an "American" version for us U.S. listeners, but for that I am glad.
Had a mini road-trip today, during which I invented a new type of turn signal. Rather than indicating to other vehicles on the highway that I intend to change lanes, this new signal will indicate to them that they should do so. This is most useful when people are attempting to merge onto the highway, and would solve a constant frustration of mine. Seriously, people can't merge on their own, and I feel that an additional signal would go a long ways towards solving this problem. (Initially my idea was for the indicator to CAUSE the other person's car to change lanes, but I'm not sure that even I would be able to use that only for good -- let alone all the idiots that can't merge on their own in the first place.
I'm not even going to charge money to license this technology; I feel the good this will do for mankind far outweighs the potential profits from it. You're welcome, world.
In other news, we're off to an 'adults-only' member night at our local Museum of Science and Industry. A quick peek at the website has taught me that it's not quite the evening I had imagined when D sold me on the idea a few months ago; rather it's just an evening where no one under 21 is admitted so the adults can enjoy fancy appetizers and 'sciency' cocktails. My imagined version was much better, but the real one sounds like it might be fun too. What's better than Chinese dinosaur bones? Slightly tipsy rich people to appreciate my sophisticated 'bones' humor all evening.
Spent an hour at Barnes & Noble today looking at books. I took a few pics of amusing shelf locations and amusing books while looking at covers.
I'm a sucker for a good cover, to the point that I'm contemplating making a coffee table book that's nothing but fake book covers. Or something.
Speaking of covers: I really hate it when they moviefy book covers. You know, when they put the poster of the movie they made out of the book onto the BOOK. ("Oh! I love Brad Pitt... I bet I'll like this book...") Upton Sinclair's <i>Oil!</i> was proudly displayed with Daniel Day-Lewis's mustachioed manliness on its cover, the poster for <i>21</i> emblazoned whichever one of Ben Mezrich's books it was based upon. (I say this because I truthfully don't know which it was... a quick glance at Amazon shows that he has at least three books all detailing his capers with the MIT whiz kids who busted Vegas. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Busting-Vegas-Brought-Casinos-Their/dp/B000Q6GXWM/ref=pdbbs2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202505258&sr=8-2">One</a>. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bringing-Down-House-Students-Millions/dp/B00015PPM2/ref=pdbbs3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202505258&sr=8-3">Two</a>. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Vegas-Ben-Mezrich/dp/0099490994/ref=pdbbssr_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202505258&sr=8-5">Three</a>.)
I remember trying in vain to locate a copy of <i>Fight Club</i> without either Brad Pitt, Ed Norton, or Brad Pitt AND Ed Norton on the cover around the time the movie came out. Ug. I always like to joke "Oh, they made a book out of that movie?!" whenever I see one, but even that's not doing it for me anymore.
Please, publishers, keep movies off of your books. Thank you.
Unwilling to stop at the eradication of poor Louisianans, the Government Weather-Control Machine is back in action again: <a href="http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jW-BndswWuhgPAPXOK4Q6TCQsANQD8UK7PQO0">Weather Threatens Voting</a>.
With the news of Microsoft possibly buying Yahoo! spreading around the internet, I've been hearing doom-and-gloom from people pretty consistently regarding their Flickr accounts. Left and right I see people lamenting that they'd JUST paid for another year, but now wish they hadn't because Microsoft is going to ruin Flickr.
To long-time Flickrers, this is nothing new. Yahoo! "ruined" Flickr a couple years ago, yet it is still going strong. I'm not sure how many of the complainers are pre-Yahoo! users, but their argument is pretty flimsy. "Oh no! A big evil company is buying the photo site I love from... another big evil company?" If you're fine with using a cool little photo site that's been co-opted by Yahoo! to make as much money off it as possible (by doing sleazy things like using its users's's photos in advertisements without asking), then you really have no reason to worry if some other company then wants to start making money off your stuff instead.
Look, I'm as anti-Microsoft as the next guy (OK, probably a lot more), but do I think they're going "ruin" Flickr more than Yahoo! already did? No way. So quit yer bitchin'. Chances are you already use Google Mail, Google Maps, Google IM, Google Documents, Google Analytics and Google Prostate Check and fully intend to buy a Google Phone as soon as they come out, so why all the worry about Microsoft getting into the mix? If Google bought Flickr the entire blogosphere would cave in upon itself under the strain of a bajillion bloggers rejoicing in unity, sending waves of trackbacks back and forth, obliterating Technorati's servers.
Not knowing much about Heath Ledger's career or family, I'm largely untouched by his untimely death. Sure, like he was, I'm having problems with prescription drugs and depression, but to me that's really not enough to make a personal connection. What impacts me most about the whole thing is the effect this surely is having on Terry Gilliam; rumors are flying around of him contemplating using CG or "magic actor swaps" to desperately try and save his film from the fate he's experienced first-hand so many times before. Gilliam is no stranger to films falling apart due to circumstances beyond his control, and it's really unfair that this keeps happening to him. More difficult still, he was reportedly close friends with Heath, adding pressure to avoid looking like he's trying to "cash in" on Heath's death like so many others are. (CNN and FOX, I'm looking at you.)
Terry Gilliam is in a really difficult spot right now, because no matter what choices he makes, they're all going to come off as seeming disrespectful. That's a real shame, because I'm sure he's hurting at least as much as everyone else pretends they are, but he's actually got something to lose as a result in addition to his friendship.
If you've got any mojo left over after sending it out to Heath's family, I'd suggest sending a little Terry's way as well.
I can't tell... does this trailer look overwhelmingly terrible or extremely bad-ass?
On the one hand, it looks like a bad <i>28 Days Later</i>-style viral apocalypse. But on the other hand, it's from the director of <i>The Descent</i>, has some really hot people in it (including Malcolm McDowell) as well as a society of <i>Mad Max</i>-esque fighters driving <i>Mad Max</i>-esque vehicles.
I'm hesitantly going to say it'll be extremely bad-ass. Thoughts?