Panderverse Kenny was done incorrectly

In the South Park episode/special “Joining the Panderverse”, Matt and Trey mocked the Hollywood trend of providing minorities with “representation” by lazily race- and gender-swapping existing characters instead of bothering to create new characters. They race- and gender-swapped all of the show’s characters so that everybody was an adult female lesbian of color (were they still fourth-graders despite being adult women? 🤨)

The plot aside, there was one thing they definitely messed up. The east-Asian lesbian Kenny talked. I suppose that could make sense since it’s a parallel-universe, but it would have worked a lot better if the “edgy” Kenny with the color streaks in her hair had shown up with a swollen lip and when asked what happened, unintelligibly mumbled that she pierced her lip and it got infected. That way, she could mumble throughout the episode and it would be consistent with the plot and the alternate-reality version of Kenny. Duh. 🤦

Panderverse Kenny Should've Had a Swolen Pierced Lip

The missed opportunity of Parasite (2019)


I finally got around to watching Parasite (2019) after constantly hearing people go on and on about how great it is. I’ll admit, it was pretty good. I’d already heard about most of the aspects of the movie, but then, it wasn’t exactly supposed to be about twists and surprises. It was pretty good and certainly stirring and thought-provoking.

That said, I have one issue with the movie (aside from the raised toilet, which didn’t have a storage cabinet below it, thus making it pointless and absurdly unrealistic, regardless of its symbolic purpose). There was one thing that I felt was a wasted opportunity.

Towards the beginning, Ki Woo’s friend Min brings the family a “scholar’s stone” or suseok, a landscape-shaped rock, that is supposed to be lucky and bring the family good fortune. Later in the movie, they live it up in the Park home while the Parks are away, but then nearly get caught and overhear the Parks talking about them in disparaging ways. They barely manage to sneak out and run home, only to find their basement home flooded by sewage. At this point, their previous jovial elation is ruined and they are feeling down-trodden. There is a shot of the scholar’s stone floating out of the water and into Ki Woo’s hands.

He takes the stone with him to the school gymnasium where all the flood victims are being sheltered. Obviously people can only bring a few essentials with them to the shelter, and clearly it is meaningful that Ki Woo chose to bring a rock (which he clutches and says is actually the one clinging to him).

He then ends up using it to try to murder the former house-keeper and her husband, only to end up getting his own head bashed in with it. The rock is dripping with as much symbolism as it is Ki Woo’s blood.

And that’s all fine and good. I like the metaphors. But, the fact that the rock floated in the water (which wasn’t actually in the original script and was a later idea by the director) ended up going nowhere. It didn’t really manifest in any sort of meaningful way. At most, it’s just a loose end for the viewer to fill in the blanks with their own ideas.

When I saw the rock floating, I expected Ki Woo to crack it open to reveal that it is just foam (which the actual movie prop was), or wood or gypsum or some other non-rock material that could give it a bit of weight, but also make it non-dense enough to float. That is, have Ki Woo suddenly realize that this totem of luck was really just a fake, a worthless fraud, just like themselves. That feels more compelling and more apt for that scene. It was what I thought was about to happen, but instead, nothing happened. The rock unrealistically floated and nothing came of that unrealistic event, leaving it to just break the immersion by seeming to be magic.

Of course, some might argue that if it were actually fake, then he couldn’t have used it to try to “fix” the problem they had with the house-keeper and her husband, and moreover, couldn’t end up with his own head being smashed with it and nearly dying from it. However, that is an easy fix, and in fact, the fix makes it even more meaningful and metaphorical and symbolic.

The fix is to make it so that the rock and base remain together up until the flood. During the flood, they become separated and the rock floats, Ki Woo breaks it in half, and realizes that his hopes and dreams and everything were as false as the fake stone. Then they spend the night in the gym and his father says he’s not going to do anything about the house-keeper and her husband, just as it did happen in the movie. But afterwards, in the scene in which they are back in their home, trying to salvage what they can, Ki Woo sees the base of the rock and picks it up, notices that it is heavy and solid, then have the rest of the movie take place as it did, but with the base instead of the rock.

Not only would that give the same symbolism and meaning as before, with the additional revelation that the rock was a fake, but it would also have a message about classes, about how the fortunate people are hollow phonies who stand on the solid, hard-working base of people who do the hard and dirty work. Upon realizing this, Ki Woo decides to stop putting his life in the fake good-luck-charm hands of the rich people and take care of his problems himself, with his own, working-class hands.

I think this small change could have amplified the movie and its message quite a bit. Shame. :-\ But oh well, I’m used to getting frustrated by missed opportunities everywhere. 🤷

Prevent using fingerprints to crack codes

It’s pretty cliché scene in movies and TV shows where someone needs to crack a code to a safe or a door, so they dust the keypad for fingerprints or use a thermal camera to see the heat signatures on the pad. While it doesn’t give the code outright, it reduces the domain of possible codes significant and, depending on the circumstances, can make it much easier (to the point of actually giving the code outright).

One solution to this is to replace the physical keypad with a touch-screen on which a number-pad is displayed, but the position of the numbers on the displayed pad are randomized instead of in standard phone/keyboard order. That way, each time you enter the code, you end up having to press on a different area of the screen and fingerprint/thermal attacks would be mitigated. Of course this would also have the side-effect of slightly increasing the time to enter the code and likely annoy the users, but it’s worth it for good security.

Heat signature gives away code
The heat signature exposes the code
Fingerprints help safe-crackers
Someone using fingerprints to crack a safe in an episode of “iZombie”

“All Over the Phone”

Last week I was watching a television show in which a character met up with another one to discuss something. When the first character found out what the second one wanted to tell him, he said:

That’s it? You could have said this all over the phone.

Really? He could have said it all over the phone? How about all over the floor? All over the counter? All over his body? What he should have said is:

That’s it? You could have said all (of) this over the phone.

Apparently even professional writers have trouble with the English language. 🙄

Excel Gum Plush Dolls

If Wrigley is smart, they will create plush dolls of their donut, coffee, garlic, and onion characters from their line of commercials for their Excel Gum campaign . The little characters are cute and people have become fond of them. Making dolls would be a great merchandising move on their part. In fact, it it seems that some people have already made their own plush dolls and plastic figurines, though professionally made ones would look better.

[Architecture] High Ceilings

High ceilings are a waste of vertical space. Instead of building, say, a 60′ house with two 30′ foot high floors, make that 60′ house have three 20′ high floors (numbers obviously just placeholders; the idea is what matters).

With area at a premium due to humankind’s ever increasing population and expansion (even for their dead!) on this finitely sized planet, we have to make the most of vertical space (like those 1,000 story high space-scrapers you see in sci-fi movies). Don’t waste space with high ceilings which have little use anyway, other than to provide space for impossible to reach cobwebs and making difficult and expensive to heat rooms (especially with electric heaters).