Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×
User Journal

Journal Journal: 17 Drawings, Redux

One rainy Saturday last November I documented my day in a series of whimsical illustrations. I touched on the usual subjects: my toddling daughter, my sexidelicious wife, our menagerie of beasts and our giggling adventures here at the Gilford Old Schoolhouse.

I broadcast the drawings in a Scoop post along with captions. It went over very well, and was widely surfed. It continues to be widely surfed. It's six months later now and I'm still getting fan mail. Superdiva, who supports the arts like Atlas the world, told me I should offer the story in a printed edition.

So now I am. I've made a storybook. Want one?

StoryZoo Studios presents: 17 Drawings , by Cheeseburger Brown

I received my proof in the mail today, and I'm quite satisfied with the printing job. Nice quality paper, too. Overall, I'm very pleased with the whole Lulu experience. I did get gummed up by some pesky technical gremlins that none of their support staff or so-called "master users" were able to shed any light on, but I eventually managed to figure out a workaround myself. Colour me MacGyver.

If you didn't see 17 Drawings when it made the rounds on the web last autumn you should bear in mind that it isn't really appropriate for little children, unless they already know where babies come from. It is not a smutty book per se but certain allusions are made with reference to heterosexual hardware interfacing. It is the story of my day, after all, and not my toddler's.

If you enjoy the storybook, please pass the link on. I'm busking for your pleasure, sir or madam, and that link is my upturned hat.
User Journal

Journal Journal: A New Leaf

Most Canadians are not much maligned by the classic stereotypes of Canadiana: beavers, lumberjacks, maple syrop, hockey, beer, tundra, good manners and general affability. These symbols are a quaint mix of the historical and the apocryphal, and to most minds they represent no serious effort to define the national character. The polite, virginal Mountie in crisp crimsons is to Canada what the bonneted, braided mountain girl is to Sweden: a postcard.

It is even difficult to find a Canadian who is dramatically discomfited by more recent additions to the Canuck caricature: being clean, calm, diplomatic and, above all, fairly dull. While the points may be individually disputable, the overall impression isn't too objectionable.

But how do Canadians feel about being branded as a modern "hippie nation" of wanton copyright-infringin' draft-dodgin' dope-smokin' queer-marryin' freedom-pirates?

That's a horse of a different colour.

Whether or not you are a copyright-infringin' draft-dodgin' dope-smokin' queer-marryin' freedom-pirate, you'll have certainly noticed that the Canadian stereotype is undergoing a profound shift in the eyes of our American cousins, many of whose media pundits really do seem to use tongue-in-cheek national caricatures as a basis for analysis, or at least for the purposes of strategic diatribes. To wit, to wank -- consider these recent mass-missives:

This summer the Pittburgh Post-Gazette's Samantha Bennett typed out a piece of fluff by the title of It's Not Just the Weather That's Cooler in Canada detailing her own surprise of having to trade one set of stereotypes for another. From the article:

The Canadians are so quiet that you may have forgotten they're up there, but they've been busy doing some surprising things. It's like discovering that the mice you are dimly aware of in your attic have been building an espresso machine.

The American version of being cosmopolitan is so...charming. At any rate, after Canada has been painted with a wide brush dipped in current events, Bennett positions the caricatured country as a counter-piece to cartoonified vision of modern America (a popular notion these days, reminiscent of Palpatine's Coruscant of yore, where the clonetroopers of security transmogrify silently into the stormtroopers of oppression). Canada is held up as an anti-mirror, to cast the light of cool conscience on a passionate America:

But if we are the rugged individualists, why do we spend so much of our time trying to get everyone to march in lockstep? And if Canadians are so reserved and moderate, why are they so progressive about letting people do what they want to?

Jay Currie writing for Tech Central Station trots up to the podium with a similar notion up his sleeve, in his August 2003 piece Blame Canada , in which he points his hopes of file-sharing salvation north of the border, suggesting that the RIAA quit its litigated mass-beatings and take a lesson from the sensible, chilly chaps of Canada. From the article:

As the RIAA wages its increasingly desperate campaign of litigation in terrorum to try to take down the largest American file sharers on the various P2P networks, it seems to be utterly unaware of the radically different status of private copying in Canada.

Our own logoless Naomi Klein declares this new image of Canadians as doomed in the post-Little Guy from Shawinigan era, in which our duly-coronated representatives will have to make good with our trading partner and defender to the south for the sake of economic prosperity, in her article for The Nation entitled Hippie Nation :

There is another reason Chretien's nose-thumbing at Washington should be regarded with skepticism. Every poll shows that when Chretien steps down, he is going to be succeeded by his archrival, Paul Martin. By passing a bunch of laws that piss off the Bush Administration and then retiring, Chretien wins on two fronts: He gets to be remembered as the man who rescued Canada's sovereignty, while Martin gets stuck dealing with the fallout. Watch for Martin, who represents the right of the Liberal Party and is the favorite of the business community, to do whatever it takes to get back into Bush's good books, even if it means overturning Chretien's last-minute laws.

It's true that principles don't come cheap. Klein may be suggesting that reasons of vanity will inspire a fight in the average Canadian, however. Could Canadians become to quickly accustomed to being held up as the paragon for liberty for the sake of American polemics? From the article:

The Pentagon may be developing a high-tech form of "gaydar" to monitor the northern border, and John Walters may well be diverting funds from Colombia to launch "Plan Canuckistan." But we are not afraid. For a country that has been boring as long as we have, there may be something more addictive than sex and drugs: being interesting.

Move over Anne Murray and poutine, it's time to meet the new fictitious Canada: stoned, gay, peaceful and holding on for our very lives to the feeding hand we politely bite.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bitter Oranges 1

There is a small but statistically significant sliver of the population that is tolerated but much maligned -- praised for the products of their work and vision but ridiculed for their lifestyles.

They are considered colourful and eccentric, fruity and creative, endowed with a certain idiot savante talent that somehow justifies their flagrant disregard for operational norms. They face prejudice in the workplace, overcome obstacles in a marketplace tuned to a more generic demographic, and endure the self-assured condescension of bigots on a daily basis.

Do not be misled: this is not a treatise on homophobia.
It's about apples and oranges.

Myself, I don't care what kind of fruit people eat. The fact that a million percent of the world apparently prefers oranges does not one bit dampen my staid preference for apples. I have always found it odd, however, that so many orange eaters feel it is their solemn duty to persuade me that the love of apples serves no reasonable, reducible end.

I think to myself: live and let live.

We are more common in some professions than others, our kind. Not often accountants, we. Our heads appear above the surface at the apexes of our highly visible clusters, instead. We are often designers, writers, photographers, journalists, performers and educators. In a world increasingly dominated by mass media, we are the crafters of the content. More often than not it is one of our kind who writes the copy, who arranges the layout, who mixes the tracks.

I absorb the bitter spurts of the evangelical oranges with even aplomb. Though I find it perplexing, I can accept this rudeness without rile. I smile politely. "My choice of fruit sux0rs, does it? Interesting. Please, tell me more about your engaging philosophy."

"Join us in our pain."

"No. I prefer this pain."

"You're a fool."

"I can also juggle."

I find it funny when people who consider themselves real independent spirits are discomfited by the simple non-conformity of apples. This is different than people who think apples are inferior fruit -- these are people who think apple eaters are inferior people for refusing to eat oranges like everybody else. They search their empty pockets for perverse reasons why some disturbed, attention-seeking kook might want to effect a preference for something unpopular.

(Why do we prefer apples, despite mountains of evidence that oranges are tops? I don't know. I don't care. But we're a fairly useful, productive, expressive lot in generak -- so we're probably not all ninnies. There must be something to it. In the end, a vocal minority continue to choose to make their marks the apple way.)

Getting upbraided like this can build up a bit of a knot of vitriol which must be expressed from time to time for optimum mental health. And so, without further ado, I would like to present the following rant:

You apple-dissing bastards go back home from your dull-assed orange-sucking borgjobs and turn on the television to watch our apple juice.

You fire up your clementines and swap songs soaked in cider. You trade your soft-earned bread for bigger, wider, flatter, higher definition screens and phatter speakers to immerse yourself in what we makes, in all its sensory glory...

The lessons for your children have been composed in apple sauce. The statistics, the simulation, the speech for the symposium: all drenched in the glow of apples. The cartoon, the credits, the casting manager's shared calendar; the scriptwriting, the animatic, the edit, the mix, the spot; the poster, the magazine, the image, the words...

You sneer but you suckle from our teat.

We use Macs.
Shows us some respect, bitches.

Journal Journal: Your Call Is Important To Us

I have read more than a few articulate, entertaining personal essays by veterans of the trenches of technical support; I have heard the rants from fed up and frustrated friends who work in the field; I have attended the complaints of the beleaguered and much blamed help agents, and have gained some appreciation of how much it must suck to handle customer relations.

After absorbing all of this, there is no doubt in my mind that grappling with irate, idiotic, impatient, disrespectful nincompoops is a thankless and demanding chore. It is clear that the conditions under which their expertise is tapped is seldom ideal.

...The thing is, I would find myself more sympathetic if most technical support didn't consistently suck so badly under ideal conditions, too.

As someone involved to a greater or lesser extent in the arts of geekery, I have had to deal with various technical support representatives from a diverse array of services and companies over the years. I have learned from my experiences, both good and bad, in order to hone my technical support manner so that I can maximise my chances of getting the assistance I need. The area I most often require assistance is with webhosting.

At this point, I am willing to say with no hint of false modesty that I am a perfect technical support customer. Immaculate, I tell you.

My default assumption is always user-error (I'm probably confused about how something is supposed to work); I am always patient, and courteous (I don't get grumpy about being put on hold, or become aggressive toward support agents for policies beyond their control); I always have all the necessary account information on hand (I don't say things like "You never sent me any membership number in the first place -- can't you look up my profile some other way?"); I keep notes about any incident I am reporting before I call, so that I can supply exact error messages and specific failure circumstances; I am willing to try whatever suggestions the agent recommends, even if I cannot see the relevance of their diagnostic approach; and I do not commit the classic nerd-dick testosterone-bred error of trying to convince the support agent that I'm just as smart if not smarter than they are.

You see? I'm a fucking gem.

And yet: technical support still sucks. They still deny that a newly reported problem exists as a matter of reflex, so most serious matters have to brought to their attention at least twice before being taken seriously. Once a problem is acknowledged they report that the problem is fixed without thoroughly checking things out, requiring a third technical support session to be opened to get the actual repairs underway. Once changes have been made to address a problem they don't take any interest in secondary or tertiary problems which may be caused by these very changes, requiring these subsequent issues be dealt with through yet another session of support, beginning the entire process over again...

If you are in the technical support industry, here are a few tips for you. Pay heed -- they will make you a star, raising you head and shoulders above the rabble:

1. Learn to distinguish idiots from reasonable people. If you treat reasonable people the same way you treat the idiots, you suck. Don't cry to me that the vast majority of the callers are idiots -- that should just make it all the easier to spot reasonable people. Pay attention. All further rules apply only when dealing with reasonable people. Dealing with idiots is between you and your supervisor.

2. When someone reports to you that they have done everything by the book, and then methodically checked over their steps again to make sure they weren't missing something, do not respond by simply reiterating the written instructions back to them again. This is a waste of time. If they were illiterate, they probably wouldn't have been able to go through the written instructions in the first place.

3. Say "I can't seem to reproduce that error" rather than "There is no problem at all" because the latter will only make you and your company look stupid later on. If there was no problem at all a reasonable person wouldn't be calling you saying there is a problem. The problem may have been caused by intermittent circumstances beyond your control, but there was still a real problem. Accusing people of hallucinating, even when put nicely, tends to rankle them and impair further relations. This is just a minor point of politesse, but it points out a constructive, trust-based attitude. The customer is trusting you to have some level of expertise: in turn, you must trust that the non-idiotic customer has a basic grasp of their perceptions and faculties.

4. If you make a change to something in order to solve a problem, for crying out loud please be sharp enough to verify what impact these changes might have had elsewhere in the system. Sadly, this is the most consistently negative feature of bad technical support: failure to anticipate the possible repercussions of their own advice.

5. Cut down on denial. I once had a webhost assure me that their system (and thus my data) was not vulnerable to a certain known exploit, even after I had sent the support team recent articles about computer security naming exactly the software versions and hardware configurations my webhost used. Technical support stubbornly defended their point of view, right up until their systems were compromised through the very exploit I had been flagging. The moral of the story is that arrogance isn't a quality that wears well when it comes to security; when non-idiotic customers are trying to tell you something, listen.

Over-arching theme: If the person on the other end of the line is patient, polite, humble and organised, think twice about what they're saying, even if it initially seems like bunk to you. They really might be on to something, dude.

(For anyone in the technical support industry who thinks I'm full of shit, please review tip #1 six to seven times before posting any flames.)
User Journal

Journal Journal: Adobe Flips Pirates the Bird

I am a pirate-on-the-mend (save me, Jeebus!).

As a design professional, I have a broad array of software tools at my disposal. The vast majority of those tools are legitimately registered to me, and a few of them are not. Of those that are registered to me, I use more than half in a way that, strictly speaking, violates the terms and conditions of the end-user licence (by installing an extra copy of QuickTime Pro on my girlfriend's laptop, for example, for no other reason than to stop that annoying "Why not upgrade to QuickTime Pro?" pop-up screen-spam).

As I mentioned, I do have some pirated software. Usually, this is for evaluation purposes; I do end up paying for things that I use regularly and that contribute to my revenue. Occasionally, it is because some specific application from the corporate computer monoculture is required sporadically (like Word, or Excel), but not often enough to justify paying the punishing fees the applications' authors repeatedly charge for ongoing use of the most current version of their suite (though I am making a concerted effort to replace these with Open Source alternatives).

In the culture of my workstyle and that of my colleagues (animators/designers working mostly with Macintoshes), it is an accepted practise to use pirated software. It is not confined to kids wet behind the ears, or people living on the edge of fiscal solvency; it is the norm. Many designers do not even have legitimately registered copies of their key productivity applications. Here are some of the most common rationales:

* "Q-Corporation is evil, therefore I am doing a moral work by sticking it do them."
* "Market dominance forces me to use F-Product, not choice. Therefore, I refuse to pay."
* "My registration fee is a pittance compared to the annual revenue of R-Corporation."
* "I'm just trying it out. I'll pay for it eventually."
* "I couldn't afford to be in business if I didn't use pirated warez. Who can keep up?"
* "How are they going to catch me?"

Most of these justifications are really just shiny veneers to cover the last one, "How are they going to catch me?" The first point is moot, because people who say this also glibly hand over money to ten other corporations known to be at least as evil; the second point has some validity, but only if you are actively seeking other solutions; the third point is retarded; the fourth point has some validity only if the person saying this actually follows through, which, in my experience, most people who say this do not; the fifth point is retarded; the sixth point is mind-blowingly naive.

Software piracy is an arms race. On June 1st of this year, Adobe Systems upped the ante. All over the world, thousands or millions of pirate copies of Photoshop 6.1 and Photoshop 7 refused to launch as of 12:01 AM. The exact technical explanations for how Adobe has accomplished this are varied and conflicting (for one example see ).

What gets me is the amount of people I know who are whining. Cry me a river! All of their other rationales fly out the window when they are faced with an answer to the question "How are they going to catch me?". Some of the weepy Macheads I've talked to sound as if they honestly feel like Adobe has somehow ripped them off! Wake-up and smell the end-user agreement, idiots. (These are the same bozos who start to throw tantrums when they hear that flat-rate broadband pricing is coming to an end in their neighbourhood -- the injustice of actually having to pay for what you use! Unthinkable!) Yes, I had a pirate copy of Photoshop 7 on one of my computers -- I'm paying for a wedding and a honeymoon in the next few weeks, so I figured I wouldn't have the money to legitimately upgrade until autumn -- but I sure am glad I still have my legal copy of PS6 to reinstall (unlike some of my friends). I was annoyed to have to launch Classic MacOS to run Photoshop, but I wasn't deluded into thinking anything other than that I had brought this frustration upon myself.

As much as I do not favour the software developers' resorting to Draconian measures, I think they may have to. The culture of justifying piracy is totally out of control (at least in the professional Mac world). Anyone who thinks they're not going to do something drastic about it is a fucking moron. Anyone who thinks that it can be argued on a basis of "fairness" is a teenage cretin-philosopher, with all the real-life experience of a cartoon.
I am laughing at my panicking peers. I TOLD YOU SO! They will cry again when their copies of Microsoft Office fail and they find they cannnot read .DOC files, and I'll giggle as I sit at my Linux machine and have no trouble at all (once I get the office suite successfully *installed*, that I tap-dance in the tear-mud at the feet of those blithering gibbons who thought things would never change!

Less foolish people know that we are living in the freest times we will ever know. It is all downhill from here.
User Journal

Journal Journal: A Threat of Stability

Last summer, at long last, my life threatened to achieve some measure of stability. I had secured a spacious apartment in an old but well maintained building in a green part of a prosperous megatropolis. My freelance workstyle was finally providing enough meat for me to forget any nervous thoughts about getting a full-time job working for somebody else; in fact, it looked likely that my so-called savings account might be able to live up to its name (even with the banking fees factored in). I was living with a beautiful girlfriend who was only grouchy once a month, and we had enough disposable income to buy fabulous laptop computers for one another.

One August twilight as we sat on our balcony sipping cocktails and watching baby birds learning to fly, I opened my mouth to tell my lover how utterly content I was. She interrupted to tell me that she'd been thinking it over, and had decided to move across the country for a year to go to the University of Pretty Mountains to become a Master of Neurolinguistics.

"I'm sorry, sweatheart -- what were you going to say?"

We proceeded to discuss how we could make her plan a reality. I would sit on the fancy apartment while managing our herd of cats, and fund her scholastic enterprise with megatropolis dollars. We would liquidate our accumulated airmiles in an orgy of cross-continental flights. In between, we would reap the benefits of a competitive long-distance telephony market, and make use of free teleconferencing software in order to make kissy-faces at one another through chunky streaming video. (I have always enjoyed living in the future.)

Seeing as I had been planning to propose in the autumn anyway, I asked her to marry me. I figured that this would mitigate the separation anxiety somewhat. She would be less inclined to imagine that I was being seduced by green-skinned dancing girls whilst she was away, I reasoned, if she had a sparkly ring on her finger as a symbol of my fidelity. I bought the ring, she said yes; she packed up the car with her school toys and the dog, and drove west. (Shortly thereafter I would fly out to visit her, and find myself trapped there with her for a few weeks while the Pentagon the twin towers burned, but that's another story and shall be told another time.)

It is this spring, and preparations for the wedding have hit a frenetic pitch. We go to the supermassive department store and get to touch things we like with scanning guns, so that people buying presents for us know what kind of crap we like. She delights in scanning silverware. She wants nicer sheets, and duvet. We pick out wedding bands. We choose flowers; we choose music; we choose words; we choose photographic opportunities; we choose scents; we choose lighting; we choose receptional hall placemats and serviettes; she draws up elaborate seating charts, to accomodate intrafamilial likes and dislikes. We book a honeymoon in a private villa at the edge of a Maya village close to the equator, to bronzen our fish white bellies and to get diarehea, to climb ziggurats and to fuck like monkeys. Dresses are commissioned for bride and maids; tuxedo rentals arranged. All of our ducks are in row. Everything is scheduled to run like clockwork during our marriage skit.

I am sitting on my balcony the other night, watching the sky turn from gold to purple and enjoying a frosty beer. We have moved out the plants for summer, and it smells wet out here. I am not afraid of marriage. I am anxious for the fuss to be over. On the far side of the honeymoon, I think that I catch a glimpse of something I have not seen in a year: my life, threatening to achieve some measure of lasting stability. A warm contentment suffuses my evening. At last, my patience will be rewarded.

The phone rings. My spidey-sense is tingling. I pick it up.
"What are you up to?"
"Well, I was just sitting out on the balcony and saying to myself--"
"I'm pregnant."

According to an informative website, Baby may already have a heart, a wee micropump the size of a snail's bum. It has a crescent-shaped line of neuronal fibre for a spine. It is working its way toward having arm buds. So far, there is no sign that Baby plans to self-terminate (due to an unknown error of Type -39, perhaps). My mother-in-law-to-be tells me that she and her daughter come from a long line of women with iron uteri that clutch foeti with a renouned vigour (unlike my own mother, who legend has it had to avoid uncrossing her legs for fear that yours truly might fall out during his gestation). All indications are that we should not treat Baby as a drill, but rather as a fully-blown substitution for the new puppy we'd planned to get. (Or rabbits -- there had been talk of rabbits.)

No puppy, no rabbits. No fish-superquarium. No homebrew wine kit. No 3D animation render-farm.


I know that if I had to be a man with a family and no career or a man with a career and no family, I would without hesitation (almost without hesitation) choose the former. In that spirit, I welcome Baby. I have only the best spirits when I contemplate the chocolate mess Baby will make of our finances. I am suspending consideration of how the sanctity of my home office ("the laboratorium") may be violated. I don't have space to think about what can no longer be: I can only giggle and be terrified when I consider Baby's micropump and Baby's arm buds.

I still feel like a child. Does that stop when Baby comes?

(Somehow, my imminent marriage skit just isn't as significant an event as it once seemed.)
User Journal

Journal Journal: The Marginality Myth

Challenging the Marginality Myth

I use a Macintosh. If I'm to pony out the standard statistics as oft-quoted, I am to believe that I share this trait with about 4 - 6 % of computer users. As I understand it, the figure represents Apple's "market share" -- though how this number is arrived at (does it deal only with new systems sold, or does it take into account existing legacy systems?), or how accurate the tally even is (who exactly do they ask?), is a complete mystery to me, my understanding of economics being what it is (nil).

However: It doesn't *feel* as if I'm part of such a marginalised group. Granted, since I work in the field of animation and graphics, it is natural that I should meet many people professionally who use Macintoshes. But beyond that, it seems to me that there is no scarcity of Macintosh users to be encountered socially. At any random gathering of more than five or six people, there is always somebody who is connected to the Macintosh world (if only in the form of "my girlfriend has an iBook").
In my experience, even a group of people dedicated to the use of their Wintel PC in the workplace will still be punctuated by the handful of people who prefer to use a Macintosh at home. It doesn't seem to matter whether they're working in high finance, textbook editing or just e-mailing Cousin Sally -- there are always those few who go the Apple way.

But how few? If I'm running into these people just about every time I'm in a mixed gathering, that must mean that I am some sort of supernatural vortex that draws a specific 5 % of the population into my life, like iron-filings to a magnet. Empirically, Macintosh uses seem to be a distinct minority, but a far cry from being marginal.

Is my perspective skewed because I live in a (relatively) cosmopolitan megalopolis? Perhaps I rub against individuals who think differently more often than say, a farmer. This theory is unlikely: over the past few years I have visited with dozens of rural family members, friends and business contacts, and the Macintosh seems as present as it does anywhere else, if not more so (say, 1 of 5 people, at a broad guess).

(Is my perspective skewed because, in my business, I tend to encounter people who are fairly well-to-do? Maybe it is. When I think about it, Macs do seem to become less frequent as we move down the economic ladder.)

Walking my dog last night I glanced up at the north face of my apartment building and easily spotted six personal computers that could be discerned through the windows. Two of them were mine (easy to spot on account of the PowerBook's glowing Apple logo standing out like a small beacon in my otherwise darkened office), one of them was clearly an indigo iMac with two kids sitting in front of it, one of them was a graphite G4 tower sitting unattended, and two of them were anonymous grey or beige boxes.
I know it's just an anecdote. It doesn't prove a darned thing. I'm sure there are plenty of computers in my building that aren't against windows, or against north-facing windows. But it's not a bad analogy for how I've been feeling lately: if Macs are so obscure, why do I see them so often? If Mac users are so rare, why do I meet so many?

One theory: a greater proportion of Wintel PCs are actually dust-covered paperweights (i.e., not used often if ever). It is possible that, in the general population, Mac useres tend to actively use their computers more often MS-Windows users (users with Wintel boxes running *nix are a different matter altogether, of course).

Another theory: the big big numbers are dramatically skewed by mass purchasing for business computing. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if there were a way to survey home computer use, including new and legacy systems (that get *used* that is), Mac users would turn out to be closer to a quarter of the user base. It has been said that Mac users are "disproportionally" represented on the Internet (not by any means the majority, but with a presence far greater than 5 %). Maybe that is the a more useful number for gauging which platform people are really using.

Anyway, I'm tired of being treated as the user of a marginal platform, when instead I seem to be a part of a healthy, lively minority. I deny my platform's obscurity. I denouce the platformist ways of those who offer Windows-only software (like my bank). Fuck 'em. I'm fighting back for Mac.

Journal Journal: 10 Things I have to say after having seen "Spider-Man"

#1. Worst opening titles sequence ever. Probably recycled out of un-used material from "The Last Starfighter." Truly IntelliVision-level graphics here.

#2. Peter hacks himself an awesome wannabe costume at first. This is good, because nobody is so well-rounded as to be ass-kickingly fierce, unswerving moral, academically gifted *and* a knock-down seamtress to boot. (It's unheard of, aside from that mama's boy show-off Clark Kent.)

#3. There is actually some credible character development. (Smacks own agape jaw in disbelief.) So much for the frickin' Batman franchise.

#4. We are treated to several exciting shots of M.J.'s heaving bosom through clinging wet fabric, which I thoroughlly enjoyed.

#5. J. Jonas Jamieson: beautiful! This character absolutely could not have been done better. It's like a really angry Perry White mixed with Lou Grant, drunk.

#6. Nice casting. Not only is Peter's pal Harry the spitting image of his screen father (Dafoe), but he also makes a passable Anakin Skywalker. (I can't wait to see what kind of a Darth sombitch Harry turns into in the sequels.)

#7. Many agree that the animated Spidey flying around looks like crap in the TV spots. Luckily, in context, it works. I found that what the C.G. webslinger lacks in verisimilitude is made up for in choreography -- the sequences of Spidey swinging through Manhatten and thrilling and fun.

#8 I've always counted on Spiderman to deliver some quality wise-cracks, in stark contrast to Superman's squarejawed mumbling about truth and justice. I also expect Peter Parker to have a dark side that is less cheese-gothic than Batman's silhouetted baying at the moon. This movie delivers -- Spidey's character is perfectly true to form.

#9. Great pacing. It's more than half-way through the movie before Peter really becomes Spiderman. His gradual transition to superherohood is convincing, and helps sell Peter as a real guy along the way.

#10. Despite the fact the Green Goblin essentially kicks his own ass in this movie, he does duke it out pretty cool with Spidey a few times first. (The best part is when the angry New Yorkers pelt him with trash for messin' with their friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.)
User Journal

Journal Journal: Cheeseburgers

It is true that I am inordinately fond of cheeseburgers, and cheeseburger-related foodstuffs. I confess.

Slashdot Top Deals

Your fault -- core dumped