Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering?

If your next thought after reading that title starts with the words “I think so Brain”, then you, too, might be a Pinky & the Brain fan. It still cracks me up when I read some of the lines from that famous opening to every episode of the Pinky & the Brain cartoon. Think how the opening to every Simpson’s episode is the same, yet different – every episode of P&B starts with that same question and answer call.

Pinky and Brain are genetically enhanced lab mice who reside in a cage in the Acme Labs research facility. In each episode, Brain devises a new plan for the two mice (led by Brain) to take over the world, which ultimately ends in failure (usually due to something Pinky does).

What got me thinking about these guys again was when a new teammate at work, @jmacofearth, recently said something that made me think of the line “Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”; but JMac had no idea what I was talking about. I knew then that I must blog about my love for P&B so that they can never be forgotten! <wink>

So, what is it about this show that captured my heart? The only other cartoon I’ve ever expressed such devotion for was the Bloom County comic strip (and while the new one is pretty good, it’s those classics from the 80s that remain the best). While Bloom County is very political and satirizes current events, Pinky & the Brain stays simple. They may throw in some current political or entertainment figures, but every episode is quite simply about some new scheme Brain has for world domination and Pinky’s completely naïve way of bumbling through them.

Brain is so maniacal and methodical and totally focused on success. Pinky is happy-go-lucky, not a care in the world waiting to greet each new day and event with child-like glee. They both appeal to me as I try to balance my own life between the practicalities of a corporate career and the inner desire to chuck it all and runaway with a band as their tiny dancer.

Ultimately, I have to credit some genius comic writing for the real appeal. The original P&B shorts on Animaniacs were written primarily by Tom Ruegger and Peter Hastings. Upon moving into its own show, the writing staff included Gordon Bressack, Charles M. Howell IV, Earl Kress, Wendell Morris, and Tom Sheppard. I don’t know these people, but if you do, please tell them “thank you” for me. The deadpan lines they gave Brain and the perfect comic timing of Pinky’s random interjections was spot on.

I’ll let their own words illustrate, with a few of the responses to that question in the headline:

  • Duh, I think so Brain, but where are we going to find rubber pants our size?
  • Duh, I think so Brain, but what are we going to do with 1000 slinkies?
  • Uh, I think so Brain, but I get all clammy inside the tent.
  • Duh, I think so Brain, but aren’t we naked already?
  • Duh, I think so Brain, but how are we going to get the Spice Girls into the paella?
  • Uh, I think so Brain, but who would want a depressed tongue?
  • Uh, I think so Brain, but this time you wear the tutu.
  • Duh, I think so Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn, and nobody cares why does he keep doing it?
  • Uh, I think so Brain, but if they called them sad meals, kids wouldn’t buy them.
  • Uh, I think so Brain, but where are we going to find a duck and a rubber hose at this hour?
  • Uh, I think so Brain, but you put the trousers on the chimp.
  • Duh, I think so Brain, but where do you put a feather and call it macaroni?

And if those make you laugh, you not only share my twisted sense of humor, but will also really enjoy the rest of the show. I don’t think they’re making any new episodes these days, but you can occasionally catch reruns (reportedly on on Jetix [Toon Disney], every night at 10:00PM Eastern Standard Time), or buy the DVDs, or just surf a bit of YouTube to get a fix. Enjoy!

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New Toys for Everyone to Play With

Had intended to do some real writing tonight, but keep getting distracted. Two things have the twittersphere buzzing: changes to the Twitter web interface and video uploads on Flickr.

Seems @Armano likes how Twitter has moved their search box to a much more UX (user experience) friendly place at the top of their web page. And, several (including myself) are submitting their Twitter stories via a new link for that. But, @QueenofSpain fears the demographic information asked for in that form means advertising will soon be pushed at us on Twitter. @SamLawrence shares her reaction. I don’t rush to go there yet. I know demographics can be helpful for way more than that, and can envision how the Twitter guys might use them to pitch for more venture funding, or just answer that question they probably get all the time: “So, who uses Twitter?” Even if this did preclude ads, if they’re necessary to keep the Twitter servers running, I’m OK with it. Also, I haven’t run into it yet, but @TWalk _really_ doesn’t like the hover effect . They also seem to have moved the link for getting widgets for your blog (which I’d love to have, but don’t see available through IABC’s version of WordPress). But, no one’s really talking about that much.

The other big deal is video on Flickr. Having just purchased a cool Flip Ultra camcorder [that wouldn’t connect to my PC, so I’m having to return it and wait to get it fixed or get a new one before I can start having fun with it :-(], I was jazzed to see that. Any opportunity to not have to open yet another account somewhere is a good thing, and if I can combine my still-to-come vids with my pics, all the better! However, it looks like it’s only available for pro accounts, and I’m so cheap I’ve only got the free account. Might have to break down and upgrade, but wondering if the 90sec length limit will be a big deal or not.

The cool thing about all of this is just how quickly everyone jumped on the new features, and how quickly they became the hot topic of conversation online. Really drives home the speed at which the web works – it’s a crazy environment for those of us who work in it every day!

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What Would Freud Make of Twitter Dreams?

I woke the other morning with a hazy dream of a Twitter conversation in my head. There was that moment you have when you wonder, did I dream that or did it really happen? It didn’t happen, but it did make me wonder. Am I spending too much time on Twitter when I begin to use it to communicate with people in my dreams? Or is it simply a sign that the tool is pervasive – like dreaming about calling someone on the phone?

A quick look at my past year’s worth of TweetStats definitely indicates that my usage has steadily increased. I remember when I first signed up at SXSW 2007 I thought: this is kinda neat, but I’ll never use it outside of this conference experience. And, you can see that there for a while I didn’t use it. So what was the tipping point for me?

One Year of Twitter

It was discovering Tweetbar – the handy little sidebar for Firefox that lets me keep an eye on Twitter while browsing other sites. It also lets you respond to tweets right there in the sidebar, so it’s ultra simple to hop into a conversation you notice happening. I know there are tons of other Twitter clients out there now, but I stick with my trusty Tweetbar because I’m just too lazy to take the time to download and learn something new when what I’ve got now isn’t broken.

Back to the original question, though – am I spending too much time with Twitter? I know my husband would say yes, but to those who’ve never used Twitter it’s as hard to explain the attraction as it is to explain Second Life. It’s even hard to explain to some who have used it. I read the other day where Misha Cornes of Threeminds blog is breaking up with Twitter. (Ironically, I found the post through an @Armano tweet with the link). But, when he talks about twitter usage as shouting into a void rather than taking the risk of speaking directly to one another, I think it shows that he’s missed something that’s there.

I often talk directly with people – sometimes through direct messages via Twitter, but most often in the public view. TweetStats can even show you who I talk to the most!

Conversations in Twitter

The visibility of such direct conversations plays a part in many of my fellow Twitterers’ decisions on whether or not to follow back those people who follow them. More and more followers are coming (can’t believe that nearly 500 people are really interested in the play-by-play of my life) as MSM such as Inc. Magazine begin to talk about it. This expansion of the community has some a bit nervous and prompted Shel Israel to document his twitter follow policy. But others like Prokofy Neva look forward to the conversion from a conversation about tech itself, to “something with substance” as it expands. She sees those who only broadcast into the void as having broken a kind of unspoken rule of social media by not using it as a conversation. I agree on both of those points.

So, while I’ve been contemplating putting myself on a “twitter diet” of sorts, I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly how to do that. Sure I can come online anytime and check the Replies tab to see who is talking to me and respond to them; but, not all the interesting conversations out there (very few, actually) are targeted right at me. If I don’t see them when they happen and join in, then they’re lost in pages and pages of updates from the nearly 400 people I currently follow.

So, I’m going to try to scale it back a bit, but expect that at any moment when I’m online I may be jumping into you conversation and reading the links you’re sharing. And, I hope you will extend the same privilege to me.

Hourly Tweet Stats

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