Posts Tagged ‘humour’

I like Futurama. I like it a lot. In fact, I would even say I prefer it to The Simpsons (the newer episodes at least). For those of who who have been living under a rock, Futurama is by the same chap that created The Simpsons (Matt Groening) and it is a cartoon about a delivery boy who is cryogenically frozen until he wakes up in the year 3000. Then come the wacky shenanigans with a cyclops, a robot, an old professor, and whatever-the-heck Dr Zoidberg is.

What may be of interest to you is that some of the showrunners and writers of both Futurama and The Simpsons have a background in mathematics. There have been many many mathematical references or jokes embedded into The Simpsons, which might be the topic of another blog post – for more info, I recommend Simon Singh’s book ‘The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets’. No, today I’m going to be talking about one of the greatest pieces of mathematics embedded into a television programme that I have ever seen: The Futurama Theorem.

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The Futurama Theorem was invented by Ken Keeler one of the writers of the show who also happens to have a PhD in applied mathematics. It was created for the sole purpose of explaining a concept behind an episode of Futurama – think of it like the ultimate ‘deus ex machina’. Let me explain: in the Season 6 episode entitled ‘The Prisoner of Benda’, Professor Farnsworth and Amy Wong invent a mind-switching machine (this allows two people to switch minds). However, once two people have switched minds, they cannot switch back directly. So for most of the episode, both characters are trying to get back to their original bodies by switching minds with a whole host of other characters. Just when all hope is lost, the Professor comes up with a mathematical solution to their situation:

It’s so…beautiful…

What this proves, in not so many words, is that no matter how many mind switches between two bodies have been made, they can still all be restored to their original bodies using only two extra people, provided these two people have not had any mind switches already. Pretty cool, huh?

Now the truly amazing thing about this theorem is that it was made just so the writers could continue the story in a resolute manner: they didn’t want the classic cut to ’20 hours later’ and everything would be sorted. No, they got one of the writers to come up with an actual valid mathematical theorem (that had never been published before) as a way of concluding an episode. Ken Keeler, you fantastic S.O.B.!

For those of who who cannot ‘read’ maths and are interested in what the heck the formula states, here it is in English:

  • Step 1: Have everybody who’s messed up arrange themselves in circles, each facing the body their mind should land in (e.g., if Fry’s mind is in Zoidberg’s body, then the Zoidberg body should face the Fry body).
  • Step 2: Go get two “fresh” (as of yet never mind-swapped) people. Let’s call them Helper A and Helper B.
  • Step 3: Fix the circles one by one as follows:
  • 3.a) Start each time with Helper A and Helper B’s minds in either their own or each other’s bodies
  • 3.b) Pick any circle of messed-up people you like and unwrap it into a line with whoever you like at the front
  • 3.c) Swap the mind at the front of the line into Helper A’s body
  • 3.d) From back to front, have everybody in the line swap minds with Helper B’s body in turn. (This moves each mind in the line, apart from the front one, forward into the right body)
  • 3.e) Swap the mind in Helper A’s body back where it belongs, into the body at the back of the line. Now the circle/line has been completely fixed. The one side effect is that for each time a circle is fixed, the Helpers’ minds will switch places, but that’s OK, see below
  • Step 4: At the very end, after all the circles have been fixed, mind-swap the two Helpers if necessary (i.e., in case there was originally an odd number of messed-up circles)

So there you have it: if you ever find yourself in a mind-swapped mishap then you may have need of The Futurama Theorem. If not, then at least you can marvel at how freakin’ awesome it is!

Tom

N.B. I have been told that I need to make my posts more ‘accessible’ to the ‘hoi polloi’ of the Internet world. Therefore, starting from now, if I post something maths-y then I will make sure to include something that non-mathematicians can appreciate and enjoy.

So here’s a picture of a dog dressed as Spiderman:

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Seeing as it’s my brothers’ first day back at school today, and I myself will be starting my new University course next week, I thought I’d share some hints and tips on the dreaded ‘first day’. It is always daunting moving into a new working environment – whether it be a new school/university or starting a new job. The prospect of meeting new people for the first time and having them instantly judge you is never an exciting thought, but fear not! Having done the whole ‘first day’ routine many many times in the past (I changed schools a lot with my dad being in the RAF), I have (mentally) compiled a list of do’s and don’t’s on how to make your first day as semi-painless as possible (I cannot guarantee it will be totally pain-free, however). Enjoy!

*WARNING* This post contains heavy use of sarcasm.

‘Quirky and awkward’ make for a terrible first impression. Sorry, Michael.

1. DO NOT, under any circumstances, be yourself.

Now, I know that may seem a strange bit of advice to say straight away. After all, everyone’s mum has always told them to ‘be yourself and everyone will like you for who you are’. Well here’s the thing: you’re probably not a likeable person at first. Don’t worry, I’m not either. My first impression is awkward, arrogant, sarcastic and just a little too handsome. So that’s  why I suppress my ‘real’ self until I feel that others know me well enough to cope with it. That’s not to say I’m a massive douchebag once you get to know me, I’m just not as ‘flat’ as my first impression exudes. So that is my advice to you – suppress yourself. Resist the urge to shout ‘that’s what she said’ or call each other ‘brah’. Just be plain and boring, at least until the first day is over, and then you can slowly ease people into you (that IS what she said).

2. Stay away from all cliques. 

Life is full of cliques, especially at school: there’s the ‘cool’ kids, the ‘sporty’ kids, the ‘nerdy’ kids, the ‘indie’ kids, the ‘suck-ups’, the ‘stoners’, the ‘musical’ kids, the ‘arty’ kids, the ‘other’ kids…the list goes on. Now these cliques take time to form as slowly the like-minded people bond over the same things – ‘You play sports? play sports! We should be friends!’; ‘You wear chinos and hipster glasses? So do we! Come join our club!’; ‘Hey, we like drugs, let’s do them together!’. The trick on your first day is not to identify yourself as ‘one of those kids’: don’t turn up on your first day singing showtunes or smoking a drug cigarette. Remain as ambiguous as possible and then, over time, let your natural-ness flow and a clique will present itself to you, for example, my entry into the ‘Handsome Society’ (‘SexySoc’ at uni). If, after 7 years, this still hasn’t happened to you, get a fucking hobby.

What started with the simple offering of an aubergine, turned into a 3 year long psycho-sexual relationship. You have been warned!

3. Don’t be helpful.

Just like the first tip, this may seem strange, but if you allow me to explain it will all make sense. See, human beings are creatures of habit – that’s why we have daily routines and schedules, we sit in the same places or next to the same people, we eat the same foods and drinks. So if you in all your helpfulness offer someone a pen on your first day, that person will forever remember you as ‘the person who has the spare pen’ and is likely to ask you for another or worse, tell others about your spare pen and then, before you know it, you’ll have an army of people wanting to borrow your spare pen. So here’s the idea – don’t offer to go out of your way to help someone on the first day: don’t offer pens, don’t lend money, don’t offer to do someone’s homework (that should be rule 1 in general). Of course, if someone is dying then by all means offer them help – don’t be a total bastard.

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So there are a few hints and tips on how to make your first day go as smoothly as possible. I appreciate that this is more a list of don’t’s rather than a list of do’s and don’t’s, but hey ho. If you have any tips on how to survive your first day then please leave a comment below!

Also, as many of you are probably aware, Twisted Fish is now on Facebook! So if you’re feeling frugal (or even if you aren’t) then give it a ‘Like’ by clicking the button on the left-had side of the page, or you can go to https://www.facebook.com/TwistedFishBlog and click ‘Like’!

Tom

The light/dark motif will likely be sending Lost fans crazy.

I am a huge JJ Abrams fan: he was one of the pioneers into ‘intelligent’ television (with the phenomenal hit Lost) and his work is riddled with mystery and intrigue. Yesterday, his company Bad Robot released a delightfully enigmatic teaser trailer for Abrams’ upcoming project entitled Stranger. 

Followers of Abrams’ work will remember that his trademark ‘let’s release a trailer and not reveal anything’ began in 2007 with the release of the infamous Cloverfield teaser trailer that sent the Internet into uproar. This remains one of my favourite trailers ever released.

So by now we’re pretty used to the mysterious trailer for Mr Abrams, but what is it actually for? I mean, we all knew Cloverfield was a film – it has the ‘This trailer is appropriate for America‘ thingy before it, and the credits at the end. But Stranger doesn’t even have that: no release date, no website, no title!

Here are some of the fan theories as to what is may be advertising:

  • Abrams’ new book, S.released in Ocotber
  • Believe – a new TV show by Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter 3)
  • Deadpool movie
  • A remake of The Crow
  • An Aquaman movie
  • Lost spin-off
  • or (my current favourite) a trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII

So, it looks like we’ll have to wait for any more information to be released about this mysterious trailer. But I can tell you one thing, if it’s anything like Star Trek then we can expect a whole lot of lens flare.

Thanks for readin’ (that’s my new ‘sign off’, as suggested by my brother),

Tom

Wow. Just wow. I’m still in shock. Earlier today I saw what was arguably the best ‘worst’ film I have ever seen. And it was bloody brilliant.

Sharknado is a TV movie made specially for the SyFy channel, from the popular mockbuster studio The Asylum – the guys responsible for Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. It was written by Thunder Levin (I really hope that’s his actual name) and stars Tara Reid, Ian Ziering and a whole heap of other C-list actors.

Now for the plot. Brace yourselves, everyone.
Hurricane David is tearing its way up the west coast of America. By the time it gets to California, it has driven heaps and heaps of sharks up the coast. These sharks are then ‘sucked up’ into the tornados which begin to devastate Los Angeles. It’s up to Finn – yes, that’s genuinely the main character’s name in a movie about sharks – (Ziering) and his estranged wife April (Reid) to somehow save the day. What ensues for the next 85 minutes is pure shark-related fun.

The CGI is what one might expect from an Asylum movie and the one-liners are fantastic. Before the storm hits the Californian coast, two surfers are walking down the beach, one says to the other ‘Killer waves, man. There’s something unnatural about them.’ Now if that isn’t the worst bit of foreshadowing then I don’t know what is.

Ignoring the whole ‘flying sharks’ part, the plot itself is wonderfully ridiculous. Just take this example, for instance. When the characters are stuck in downtown Los Angeles they decide they need to stop the tornados that are ‘devastating’ the city, and the only way they can do this is by throwing homemade bombs into each tornado from a helicopter that, luckily, Finn’s son can pilot. Erm, what?

The film is filled with stock footage of storms, cities and actual sharks – however, the way these are spliced into the film is such that it’s blatantly obvious the footage was filmed in an entirely different location to where the story is set. For example, a shark ends up in a swimming pool (just go with it); we see an above-water shot of the shark swimming in the pool; then we are treated to a piece of stock footage of a shark swimming in water that is blatantly too deep and too blue to be the pool water we have just seen. It’s little gems like this that just make this film more fantastic.

This is an actual screencap from the film.

Let’s get down to the sharks themselves – beautifully rendered in CGI, they do things in this film that I previously thought sharks couldn’t do: climb up ropes with their teeth, jump out of the water and launch themselves at people, swallow people whole. Let me expand on that last one. In the film’s nail-biting finale, the final tornado has been blown up (again, just go with it) causing sharks to rain down from the sky on our gang of heroes. Finn picks up a chainsaw, ready to tear apart any flying sharks, when suddenly he spots his daughter about to be eaten by a falling shark. He pushes her out of the way and, in a split-second decision, starts up his chainsaw as he is swallowed whole by the shark. The rest of the gang look in horror as they think poor old Finn is dead – Tara Reid gives us her best ‘shocked’ impression, when all of a sudden they notice movement coming from within the shark. Could it be? Yes, it’s Finn, chainsawing his way out of the shark – from the inside! Not only does he save himself, but he manages to save his girlfriend who got eaten about ten minutes ago, and by an amazing coincidence, they were both swallowed whole by the same shark. Words cannot describe my face whilst watching this madness unfold in front of me.

There were many, many inconsistencies in the film, to name but a few – the constant changing of the weather and depth of the water everywhere; the lack of emotion on the part of the extras who were supposed to be running from flying sharks; the fact that the directors forgot to add in the CGI devastation that the tornados have done to Los Angeles; the fact that emphasis was put on Finn’s legendary surfing abilities at the start of the film and then it’s never referenced again in the film (like an anti-Chekov’s gun); and, the fact that a helicopter to get within throwing distance of a tornado. But these are why the film is so brilliant – it knows it’s ridiculous and doesn’t try and hide that fact.

What did make me laugh was, as it was rated ‘TV-14’, no one was allowed to swear – so cue people screaming ‘Oh my gosh!’ and ‘Oh darn!’ when in reality they’d be screaming ‘Holy f***ing sh*t! F***ing sharks are raining down from the mother-f***ing sky!’

If you can get a copy of Sharknado, then I urge you to watch it – it’ll be the best 85 minutes of your day.

Tom.

Oh, and they made a ‘period’ joke. Yup, an actual joke about menstruation. When looking into a room filled with blood-red water, someone shouts ‘Looks like it’s their (the sharks’) time of the month.’ For shame…

There are many films widely considered as ‘cinematic gems’: Goodfellas, The Godfather, Shawshank, Citizen Kane, Psycho, the list goes on. These are the films that have evoked feelings of fear, joy, sadness and many others from their audiences. Which is why, I believe, that Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus belongs in the list of these cinematic greats. Allow me to explain:

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Debbie Gibson…check! Bridge…check! Fight…check!

First, a little background info on the film. Mega Shark was made in 2009 by popular ‘mockbuster’ company The Asylum (of Transmorphers fame) written and directed by Ace Hannah (sadly, this is not his real name – his real name is Jack Perez). It tells the story of two epic creatures (a ‘mega’ shark and a ‘giant’ octopus), unfrozen from their glacial prison, who wreak havoc on the world (by ‘the world’ I mean ‘a bridge, a ship, an oil rig and a few planes’). Meanwhile it is up to the spunky Emma MacNeil (played beautifully by 80s popstar Debbie Gibson) and her, for some reason, Asian love interest Dr. Seiji Shimada (played by Vic Chao – whose only film role has been this one…) to try and stop these two creatures from tearing apart the world (again, by ‘the world’ I mean ‘a bridge, a ship, an oil rig and a few planes’). Oh, and there’s some racist Army guy played by Lorenzo Lamas.

Mega Shark has it all: action, intrigue, suspense, romance and, as the back of the DVD cover promises, Debbie Gibson, bridge and fight! But for the purposes of this blog post, I will be focusing on two scenes in particular. I believe that these scenes prove that Mega Shark is one of cinema’s greatest triumphs.

I will never fly again…

1. The Plane Scene

Now, if you’ve read my earlier post Planes in Films you’ll know that I have a ‘thing’ for plane scenes in films and television. Whilst those scenes are all excellent, I think this one tops them all – which is why I’m devoting an entire post to the film it originated from. The scene in question is this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I16_8l0yS-g in which mega shark takes down a plane. Yup, you read that right, he literally jumps into the air and takes down a freaking plane!

What really makes me laugh though, is not the crappy special effects or the premise itself; it’s the man who stands up and says,  for absolutely no reason whatsoever, “I’m getting married in two days.” It’s as though the writer panicked and thought ‘Shit, I need to make the audience care for these passengers – that way the scene will seem less ridiculous. I know! I’ll make one of them engaged to be married in two days! Hmm, how to do this subtly? Nah, fuck it, I’ll just make him stand up and say it.’

Something that amazes me more, is that one die-hard Mega Shark fan has even put together an infographic explaining the necessary physics required for mega shark to take down a plane out of the sky. It’s well worth a look: http://flowingdata.com/2010/02/19/how-a-giant-shark-took-down-an-airplane/ – it calculates that in order for the shark to take down a plane 2,000m above sea level it needed to launch out of the water at a speed of 709.2km/h. That’s around 440mph. That’s pretty freaking fast.

2. The Lab Scene

I’m so glad they finally got the colour they were looking for…neon green.

Lab sequences are a good way to show that the characters are working on a problem for a period of time: they’re usually a couple of minutes long with clips of various ‘science-y’ stuff and shots of computers, set to some music. A good example of how a lab scene should be done is from CSI which can be found on YouTube here. It shows the progression of the experiments, which the audience can follow, and finally concluding what the evidence shows.

And here’s the lab scene from Mega Shark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRqQ4mOmXVk

Powerful, wasn’t it? You can feel the tension building up with every shake of Debbie Gibson’s head. I have been assured by actual scientists that all experiments everywhere happen exactly like this one does. By that I mean, to solve any problem ever, you just need to mix various liquids together and get a neon green solution. Oh, and briefly glance into a microscope then shake your head.

If you haven’t seen Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus yet, then I strongly encourage you to do so – you will not regret it. Also, if you own the DVD then why not check out some of the special features available. The bloopers mainly feature Mark Hengst (who plays Debbie Gibson’s boss) screwing up his lines then swearing profusely. The ‘Making of Mega Shark’ segment features Lorenzo Lamas (the racist douchebag in the film) talking about his ‘character arc’. Now I’m sorry, but someone who utters the line “Now if we don’t find the bible means of stopping this fucker, sharkzilla is gonna own the seas”  is NOT allowed to talk about their character ‘arc’. You’re not Daniel Day-Lewis.

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These are but some of the reasons Mega Shark is Oscar-worthy. If you have seen this film, then I’m sure you’ll understand why it’s one of cinema’s most overlooked gems.
The next film I’ll be watching and reviewing is Atlantic Rim, The Asylum’s mockbuster based on the upcoming film Pacific Rim. The trailer is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVpQmZmKNmo

Plagiarism at its finest!

Till next time,
Tom

Yes it’s that time again, folks!  Time to laugh at some of the spam comments I’m getting on this blog – some are funny, some are a Grammar Nazi’s nightmare and some are just downright bizarre. If you want to check out more funny spam comments I’ve received, you can check out #1 and #2. Enjoy!

Well they certainly picked the right blog post to comment on…

The thing that makes me really laugh about this gem is the phrase ‘according to the Indian law’. In fact, I might start adding it to the end of questions I ask. Do you reckon that would work, according to the Indian law?

comment9

Oh stop, you flatter me.

This one is only here because it’s flattering…I think. I thought to myself “Oh that’s such a nice comment! I’ll check out this person’s website” and then I discovered they were a Viagra salesman.

comment10

If anyone can make heads or tails of this, they’re a better man than I.

With most spam comments, they at least try and look like genuine comments. And then there’s ones like these. The irony is that they’ve  tried to post a spam comment on a blog post about laughing at spam comments. Or maybe it’s some kind of ‘meta’-joke. Either way it makes me smile.

comment11

I don’t even know where to begin…

First of all, who describes a prom dress as ‘cushty’? And what  about the second bit – ‘provide the relief in running your current legs commonly since you dine’? Are they trying to suggest I have fat legs? Well they can fuck right off. Obviously, I am in dire need of a ‘cushty’ prom dress for my Graduation Ball, but I will not be purchasing from you, sleekservice.com! Ha!

comment12

I often think of myself as an adult Cupid. Or maybe I just enjoy wearing nappies too much.

It’s finally happened. Someone has found love through my blog. What concerns me is that it’s through my post I’m Not Scared Anymore which is about the lack of genuine ‘horror’ in horror films today. Ah well, maybe that’s their ‘kink’.

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That’s all for today, I’ve no doubt that this post itself will generate tens of spam comments so you can look forward to seeing them next time!

Tom

Awkward Anecdote #1

Posted: June 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Today’s blog post will, hopefully,  be the start of a new collection of stories. It’ll be a compendium (that’s a fancy word for ‘collection’) of awkward tales. Most of the stories in this compilation (that’s a fancy word for ‘compendium’) will be my own – I have enough awkwardness in me to last a lifetime – but if you at home have any deliciously cringe-worthy stories you wish to share with the 12 people that read this blog then feel free to add them.

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We used to live in one of the rougher areas of Lancaster for about a year. This was the same time that I was in Sixth Form, doing my A Levels. My school was pretty much on the other side of town, so I had to walk through this ‘rough patch’ to get there. Oh, I forgot to mention, we had to wear suits for Sixth Form. So you can imagine the amount of fun I had every day walking through what looked like the set from Shameless on my way to school. To be honest, I was used to it: you get the classic ‘Oi, wanker!’ and even ‘Hey, Specky McShit-Suit!’ and that was just from the milkman.

“Are you…cutting cake?”

But I remember one day walking past a Costcutter right in the heart of this dodgy bit of town (I think it’s been burnt down now) and there on the pavement in front of me were some youths. I say ‘youths’, when in fact they must’ve been about 12, but to be honest, any kid between the ages of about 10 and 18 scare me (I know, I’m going to be an amazing secondary school teacher, huh?). Anyway, there were two boys about 12 and this one girl who must’ve been older (either that or she was one of those girls who dress older, you know, the ones you see on Jeremy Kyle) and they were just standing there in the middle of the pavement, staring at me. 

Now, I knew they’d already seen me: so I couldn’t turn back or that’d be like ‘admitting defeat’. So I proudly strode along the pavement, in my suit, getting closer and closer to them. Then the girl stepped out in front of me.

“Oi, mate, can you buy us some fags?”

I panicked. This had never happened to me before. I mean, I’d seen it on TV and stuff but I never thought in my wildest dreams that it’d happen to me. Me – a young, impressionable 17 year old who looked rather dapper in a suit, being asked to buy cigarettes by a bunch of teens. I felt like I was in The Wire

But in my panic, I said the first thing that came into my head which, in hindsight, was probably the worst thing you could say.

“Erm, I don’t have any money.”

The look on the girl’s face is something that will haunt my dreams for the rest of my life. She looked like I was the biggest moron she’d ever encountered – despite hanging around with two boys who were busy exploring the contents of their noses and crotches (not each other’s, that would be weird). 

“We’ll give you the money, you fucking idiot! We don’t expect you to pay for them, you twat!”

I suppose when it’s written down like this, I can see why she thought I was a moron. But, in the heat of the moment, I had flustered and it still makes me cringe thinking about it now. This girl’s rebuttal did nothing to ease my awkwardness, so I remained flustered and attempted to justify myself.

“Well…erm…you shouldn’t smoke.”

And with that, I hurriedly continued my way to school, and I vowed never to walk that way again.

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And there you have it: just one of the many, many, many awkward moments in my life. I hope you enjoyed it. If you, like me, experience awkwardness on a day-to-day basis, then please share.

Till next time,

Tom