happy april fool's

Okay, technically it’s 30 minutes before midnight, and I should be in bed … but hey, I should be married and have five kids by now, too, so whatever. :)

I’m not gonna post any entries this year.  In fact, I didn’t even remember about April Fool’s til about 2 weeks before this year, and I was like “oh yah … oh well.”  So, no ideas this year.  I’m just outta steam, yo.

However, here’s some links to my favorites from last year. :)

Just for the record, I don’t recommend having ferrets as pets.  Woodland creatures do not transform well into household environments.  And I’ll gladly share stories with you about stepping into puddles of ferret pee.  Seriously.

prototype form serializer gotcha

In learning JavaScript / AJAX, I’ve been using the Prototype library, and I’ve been really happy with it.  It’s quickly gotten me able to wrap my head around what the possibilities are, as well as providing some good docs with great examples.

I hit a snag with the Form.serialize function today that took me a while to figure out what was going on.  Blame it on a confusing doc, because this certainly could have been explained with more clarity.

The Prototype doc (the old one, the new one is hard to navigate and has less information) says that if you pass true to the getHash parameter, it will return “an object hash.”  A careful reading of that should be implied, because it returns a JavaScript hash, not a Prototype Hash object.  Big difference.

I hit upon the problem because I would serialize my form, then try to add more keys to it, using the set function.  That would throw errors, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So, there’s a couple of ways around it.  The simplest one I like is to immediately create it as a Prototype Hash, so you can do what you would normally do.

var h = $H($(‘form’).serialize(true));

the sabbath

It has, for some reason, recently been a thread of thought for me wondering about the implications of some of God’s commandments, and how they would apply to a newly forming civilization in ancient days.  Everything in our age is so established, that it’s interesting to me to think about the requirements necessary to properly keep some of them.

Today I was thinking of one of the Ten Commandments, specifically, to keep the sabbath day holy (Exodus 20:8).  It occurred to me that in order to keep this one, that a society-civilization would have to have some kind of a calendar system in order to keep it.  And with that, I started thinking of some of the principles related to that.  For instance, I believe that it could imply a sense of order in our own lives and houses.  How can you keep the Sabbath if you aren’t prepared for it, or even know when it is?

I don’t really have much more to comment on the matter, since that was really my only thoughts so far.  On a personal matter, though, I find it easier to “keep” the sabbath if I look at it from a certain perspective.  Growing up, I always had a pessimistic approach of it, where I basically considered it a day of all the things I couldn’t go and do — shopping, sports, whatever.  But now, I try to look at as a sabbatical, which oddly enough, has a more effective approach linguistically for me.

I believe that the Lord considers it a day of rest, and that’s what I tell myself to do on Sundays: give it a rest.  If I wanna go play on the computer or spend time on video games (which I don’t really consider all that bad, but wouldn’t really say it’s all that great either), I tell myself to just give it a rest for one day.

The other week I was sick for a few days, and was stuck at home doing pretty much nothing.  I decided to stay completely off the computer while I was at home resting, because I know that sitting myself hunched over a terminal all day long isn’t really gonna help me get better much quickly.  What ended up being just a few days with a cough and some body pains, actually turned into an incredibly positive experience because I got to give the normal day-to-day routine of my life a rest, a real sabbatical, and it gave me some serious insight into my daily habits.  I had not only the time, but the peace of mind to read, to think about things, to write down my thoughts, and worship.  I was a little sad to have to go back to the daily grind.

Anyway, that’s all. :)

return of the joker

I finally watched the Batman Beyond movie, Return of the Joker tonight.  I’ve had the DVD for a good long while, but since I’ve been ripping a lot of them to my backend recently, I decided to watch it tonight since it was so dead simple.

It was a good movie, I liked it.  In fact, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, which surprised me.  The story was really well done, and unlike some of the other Batman animated movies, it really did a good job of keeping the feel of an original series episode.

That’s not to say I’m really familiar with the Batman Beyond series.  I have to confess to seeing only about half a dozen episodes, if that.  I do have all three seasons of them on DVD though.  Again, just never really got around to watching them.  There’s a lot of TV shows like that though that I own.  It’s pretty common.  I just don’t get to them until the bug kinda hits me.

One thing that really impressed me about the movie, that I kept noticing, was that I really liked their art style.  I remember one reason I initially thought the series was going to be cool, was because it borrowed from the same animation style of the original Batman: The Animated Series runs, but now it was based in the future.

I’ve always loved the retro look of the original Batman cartoons (well, original for younger audiences), and I think that Warner Bros. has always done an amazing job with the art style.  But one thing I’ve consistently noted is that when you get good animation departments working with a futuristic timeline, they really have a ball and can come up with some really amazing concepts.

That’s one reason I like animation so much — it’s much easier to play with fresh ideas.

The story was great, as well.  I’ll be the first to admit that other Batman animated movies were alright.  In fact, I remember going to see Batman: Mask of the Phantasm with a friend when it was in the theaters.  We got there about 20 minutes late, which was a real crime, since the story flips back and forth between flashbacks constantly.  We were especially screwed because we came in when they were in a flashback sequence, and the movie was really short, and we were *completely* lost.  It’s still a good fun flick to watch, but the story is a bit strained.

This one, though, was much better by comparison.  A lot darker, too.  I’ve noticed that the newer WB animated movies are going in that direction.  I’ve got mixed feelings about that, personally.

I won’t give any of the story away, but I have always remembered reading one review of the movie a long time ago that said that it was really cool how the Joker came back.  And, I’ll agree completely.  I was pretty skeptical how they were going to work it out, but it was well done.  Plus, he is extra creepy in this one, and it seems like it delves into his character much more than before.

For that matter, now that I think about it,  the other main characters (Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis) both get some character development in the story.  We get to see a bit more about them as people.  Again, I thought the story was well developed.

The only thing that bummed me about the movie itself was the video transfer.  Warner Bros. is always great about their DVD transfers, but this one was non-anamorphic widescreen, meaning it was full-framed, but still letterbox.  On the flip side, though, the audio track was 5.1 Dolby Digital (not 2.0 like the Amazon.com listing suggests), and it was not too shabby.  It was well mixed, and even I, the non-audiophile, noticed the surround getting used quite a few times.  So, they didn’t really skimp there.  It wasn’t great by any means, but it was good.

I gotta say again how much I really enjoyed the art style in this one.  They really seemed to put some care into it.  I’m left to wonder if that transferred to the series as well.  I haven’t seen any of the episodes in a while, but I’m certainly curious to check them out now.

There were so many great shots and backgrounds, and I would love to post more, but some of them would give away the story.

Good stuff, though.  Can’t really go wrong with Batman.  I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it before now.  I like. :)