Simply Jonathan

Archive for July 2008

In Layman's terms 

Permanent location of 'In Layman's terms'

The Daily WTF:

For those unfamiliar with Value Chain Integration, in layman’s terms it synergizes backward overflow while optimizing cardinal grammeters in addition to allowing customers to parabolize slithy toves at the least embiggoned cost possible.

You know, in layman’s terms.

Title Case in PHP

I spent some time today writing a port of Gruber‘s Title Case to PHP, but as it turns out, there is already one, which functions a little better, so I won’t publish it.

I’ll continue to use mine though, because, well, I rock.

(The way I discovered this, by the way, was rather bizarre. I had obviously named the plugin Title Case, and then, to my surprise, it turned out there was an update. Apparently, it queries the central plugin repository to check about updates. Very clever, but took me by surprise that I had already released an update.)

Muse – Thoughts of a Dying Atheist

Are you afraid to die?


Permanent location of 'Thsrs'

I imagine this thesaurus could be useful for twitterers.

Typographers' Handwriting 

Permanent location of 'Typographers' Handwriting'

Interesting idea from Cameron Adams: How do typographers’ handwriting look?

Turns out, many of them have quite sloppy handwriting — no offense but really, Mark Simonson’s could go for mine.

If these examples are in any way representative, I think it’s safe to say that there are little to no correlation between handwriting and the types they create. But it was an interesting idea nonetheless, and one that I think Cameron deserves duly credit for.

(By the way, Nikola Djurek’s handwriting is bloody gorgeous. It bears reminiscence of Zapfino.)


I recently saw both ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and ‘Batman Begins’ for the first time. This will not be a review of either, though I will say this: ‘Batman Begins’ is a masterpiece, while ‘Hulk’ is a decent film.

What I want to talk about instead, is screen-versions, the act of turning a book/comic/play/whatever into a film. (I do not consider ‘based on a true story’ to really be in this category.)

I am of the opinion that very few screen-versions live up to the original they are based on; the only film I’ve ever seen that was than the book is Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’. I hear it’s a similar case with the Godfather films, but I’ve never read Mario Puzo’s books. I once read an article claiming that trivial literature is easier adapted to, and perfected on, the screen — this seems rather logical; it’s easier to improve something that’s not good, than something already terrific. Or maybe, to be fair to trivial literature, to improve something that doesn’t take the full advantage of the media, as such can’t be said to do.

Yet films such as Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ are considered wonderful, despite being based on one of the most popular book series ever.

I think the films are great, but nowhere near Tolkien’s books, and as such, not great screen-versions. (And don’t even get me started on the Hary Potter ones; I’ve seen the first two, and they were so abysmal it made me genuinely angry.)

And this leads me up to the point I’m trying to make: you can only really judge a screen-version on two things.

First of all, you can of course judge it on its filmic qualities: lighting, music, acting, and all that malarkey, as you can with any film.

But then you can only really judge it as it compares to the original, whereas with original films, you judge the quality of the story.

If the story sucks, it is only fair to direct criticism at it, insofar as it deviates from the original on which it was based. I haven’t read either the Batman nor Hulk stories from which these two films originate. This makes it difficult to comment on the story; I could say that I think the beginning of Batman is quite cliché, with him being trained by ninjas, but I wouldn’t know if Christopher Nolan was just being true to the story — in which case it is perfectly legit, of course.

I think Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ is better than Bloch’s, because I think it is more scary — an obvious desirable quality of horror. I could say that the beginning of ‘Psycho’, with Marion Crane’s theft, is irrelevant to the core story, and should have been cut out. (Purely for argument’s sake; I do not think this is the case.) This, however, wouldn’t be fair to aim at Hitchcock, given that he’s basing the story on another story.

Of course, as I said, you can criticise all deviations; this is usually my main concern with screen-versions: all the good stuff they left out. But this still only lets you compare.

This can obviously be both a curse and a blessing for the director. A blessing because if the story is weak, one can always point to the original and blame it on that; a curse because you can’t get praised for your magnificent story — I personally think Hitchcock perfected Bloch’s story, but it was Bloch who came up with the idea of a man who takes over his mother’s personality.

What this all leads to is of course that I think most screen-versions, and the concept as such, suck.

For while the blessing may be such one, all it really does is remove the director’s responsibility for creating a good film, leaving him or her ways to escape.

The conclusion obviously is, you can never be really original with a screen-version — comparison is the only way to win. But if one’s focus really is on the filmic side, then it might just be the way to do it. I personally think the story is the most important aspect, however.

Unfortunate side effect of sanitisation

A player of the club I support today transferred to another club. The price was € 1,000,000 — 7,500,000 DKR. ran a story on this minimum fee release clause. The URI was as follows:

This is clearly an unfortunate side effect of automated sanitisation. While full stops shouldn’t be in URL’s, leaving it out in this case clearly is not ideal, and could give fans of the club false hopes. (75,000,000 DKR. is a lot of money for a player in the Danish league — to comparison, the most expensive player ever sold from Denmark, Daniel Agger, was sold for a reported 67,500,000 DKR.)

This is Simply Jonathan, a blog written by Jonathan Holst. It's mostly about technical topics (and mainly the Web at that), but an occasional post on clothing, sports, and general personal life topics can be found.

Jonathan Holst is a programmer, language enthusiast, sports fan, and appreciator of good design, living in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe. He is also someone pretentious enough to call himself the 'author' of a blog. And talk about himself in the third person.