Try Catch Finally

Technical Humor – No Exceptions

Category Archives: Comic

Raiders of the Last Spot

037 - Raiders of the Last Spot

Movie Inspiration: Raiders of the Lost Ark

No, I’m not getting the band back together.  At least not quite yet.  CJ and I were joking around the other day, and this comic wrote itself.  I decided it would be a shame to not put this one out.

We were reminiscing about our college days, when parking spots were difficult to find at times.  Sometimes, I think we’d be happy to take the Staff of Ra into the map room, if only to find the one spot that was still available on THIS side of campus.  I remember, somewhat less than fondly, of pulling into a parking lot, only to see multiple “sharkers” at each end of every aisles, waiting for some unsuspecting pedestrian to climb into their vehicle and start to pull out.  That’s when the feeding frenzy would start.  More than once I entertained the idea of making a few laps through the parking lot on foot, just to drive the sharkers nuts – “Is he lost?!?  Which car is his?  He’s coming this way, hopefully I’m close enough!!!”

Indy’s outfit turned out to be easier than I thought.  Even his cloak’s hood wasn’t too bad – start with a rectangle, and warp it until it looks like it’s sitting on his head, and draped down over his shoulders.  The parking lot was a little tedious, but straightforward.  What really got me was the glow on the floor.  Trying to this to resemble the scene from the movie took me a solid hour.  I can’t remember how many layers of translucent shapes ended up in there.  A lot.




Get ready for the sprint.

036 - Get ready for the sprint

Movie Inspiration: Sucker Punch

When CJ and I started seeing the trailers for “Sucker Punch” we had the same reaction.  It’s like someone decided to make a movie that had all of his favorite things – beautiful girls in skimpy clothes, kicking butt with automatic weapons, swords, and martial arts, against all manner of bad guys.  Oh, and then he tried to write a plotline to fit it.

And yes, even before we saw that it was a man directing it, we had no doubt that it was, in fact, a man that came up with this idea.

The fight sequences were well done, but unfortunately the rest of it couldn’t keep up.  It was CJ that suggested perhaps Mr. Snyder should have done with this idea was make a video game, and then used the non-fighting sequences as cut scenes between the action.  A first-person shooter where you go from fighting 30-foot mini-gun wielding dudes to dragons to zombie soldiers to robots?  THAT sounds like fun.


The tolls on the Cirith Ungol are steep

035 - The tolls on the Cirith Ungol are steep

Movie Inspiration: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Yeah.  If only it were this easy.

This was another one that we came up with on our roadtrip to Virginia last month.  We spent a significant portion of our time on toll roads, which meant the “E-ZPass” signs were everywhere.  The good news is, it shouldn’t be difficult for Frodo, Gollum, and Sam (yes, I know he should be in this scene and isn’t) to get through the pass doing 35mph or less.

The ultimate traffic cop, also known as Shelob, will see to that.



Go Speed Coder, Go!

034 - Go Speed Coder Go

Movie Inspiration: Speed Racer

You can never be too careful at those programming competitions these days.  They’re getting brutal.

CJ came up with the basic idea for this one while we were traveling on vacation earlier this summer.  We bounced a couple of ideas around, but settled on the scene where Speed is getting briefed on all of the tweaks being made to his machine.  We thought it would be funny for our Dude to be entering a programming competition, and having a similar need for defenses against cheaters.

Part of the fun for this one – ok, a LOT of the fun for this one – was coming up with the list of modifications.  Jump jacks were left in, mostly because they were the most recognizable feature of the Mach 5, but also because it’s just plain funny to think of a laptop having them.  They give a whole new meaning to “booting up”.  One of CJ’s original ones was having the cutting blades in the DVD-ROM drive, which was also awesome – don’t even THINK of trying to peek at Speed’s screen.  I came up with most of the others, but got stuck with how to twist the homing robot.  The movie described this as being able to transmit video footage from wherever the car was, so we converted this to a “Remote 3-D web cam”.  I’m not sure what exactly this means, but it sounded cool.

When I had it mostly finished, CJ remarked at how visually different this one is from most of the others, specifically the blue.  She pointed out that since a lot of TCF end up being in the office, and since the most recognizable feature of an office tends to be the rows and rows of cubes, the color scheme tends to be very neutral.  The technician’s glasses were also a bit of a challenge.  It took me four or five attempts to arrange them on her face without making her look cross-eyed.



Network Reloaded

033 - Network Reloaded

Movie Inspiration: The Matrix Reloaded

Sometimes you just gotta do the insane to get the job done.  And Trinity and Morpheus can certainly bring the insane.

Three out of the last four Try Catch Finally comics have involved mobile devices (today’s, as well as Can you hear me now? and Fire beacons are SO last age).  I certainly didn’t plan to go through a “mobile” phase.  I don’t even own an iPhone, Android, or anything else in that class.

When I was brainstorming amusing wifi names, I did a quick search online.  I’ve seen amusing network names in the past like “BuyAnotherCupYouCheapskate”, “SkyNet”, and “UseThisOneMom”, but most of the ones I turned up weren’t appropriate.  Huh, go figure?  There’s smut on the internets.  My original thought for the name of the public wifi was something like “Information Superhighway”, which would have had some punny charm to it, but it was a bit unwieldy.  I settled on “HighwayOfDoooom” because, well, most things sound funnier when you add “OfDoooom” to the end.  The trick is you have to stretch out the “Doooom” for maximum comedic effect.

Go ahead, you know you want to try it.  Here’s a few to get you started:

Corn Flakes
Legal Pad

When I started today’s comic, I had a good idea for what the screen would look like, but not what should be in the background.  CJ suggested putting Morpheus there.  That was a good idea, but it took us another hour to actually fit him in.  I think he turned out great, especially his trench coat.  The collar turned out to be the most interesting piece.  CJ kept telling me to “just draw a line from the center, going off to the right”.  I couldn’t figure out why until I did it.  His collar has a piece of material that folds across the front, and attaches to his left, to keep it in place.  As soon as I drew it, it all clicked.


Fire beacons are SO last age

032 - Fire beacons are SO last age

Movie Inspiration: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

If the Internet had existed in Middle Earth, the real beacons would have been totally superfluous.  Tweeting and updating your Facebook status would have been all you needed to do to get the word out.

I wanted to come up with tweets that would have logically preceded the lighting of the beacon in the movie, but because I haven’t watched “Return of the King” in over a year, I had some trouble remembering the exact order of events with all of the various story lines.  At CJ’s prodding, I threw it in and watched about 20 minutes leading up to it.

Other than coming up with tweets for everyone, it was fun trying to decide what some random Rohan guard, Pippen, Gandalf, and Gollum, respectively, would have used for their profile pic.


French Roast. Very Dangerous. You go first.

031 - French Roast Very Dangerous You Go First

Movie Inspiration: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana simply doesn’t have any patience.  Of course, I really don’t picture Indy being a morning person either, so perhaps it can be forgiven.  At least once he extracts his cup-of-joe he won’t have a room full of poison darts to dodge, a chasm to jump, a stone door to dive under, a boulder to escape, or a mad tribe of natives shooting after him.

Or at least if he does he’s doin’ it wrong.



Can you hear me now?

030 - Can you hear me now

Movie Inspiration: 300  _IMDB_Logo

Apparently ancient Sparta didn’t have very good cell reception.  Who knew?  I guess that’s a good thing.  If it did, Xerxes might have found that goat trail on Google Maps, and made the entire movie a WHOLE lot shorter.

CJ thought I should have given the Dude a set of abs, in keeping with the actors in the movie, but I resisted.  I doubt I could have done them justice.  It probably would have made him look like he was wearing a fishnet girdle.  Not a sight that would have done anyone any good.

Ever work on an F5?

029 - Ever work on an F5

Movie Inspiration: Twister    _IMDB_Logo

In today’s comic, the Dude that was just hired is probably starting to reconsider his choice of employer.  What can I say?  Some projects would devour every last developer in the shop, and as many late nights and weekends as you wanted to throw at it, and it STILL wouldn’t get done on time.  That’s when you know your project is in the “suck zone”.

Most of the comic went together fairly smoothly.  The trickiest part resulted from me trying to be funny and work in yet one more reference to the inspiration movie – the cows.  Originally I had one cow tumbling through the air in the background, but that looked a little out of place considering how calm the weather looks outside.  So CJ and I settled for just putting a couple on the lawn.  After we declared it done, though, I realized there was something not quite right with the scale – either the cows are miniature, or they like to graze near redwoods.  Oh well, that’s funny, too.

Projects require a little magic, too

028 - Projects require a little magic too

Movie Inspiration: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone  _IMDB_Logo

So, “Harry Potter” is finally coming to a close.  Of course, we all know how it ends, right?  Harry Potter wakes up in the cupboard under the stairs and realizes it was all just a dream.

All right – put the wands away.  I was just kidding!

It has been truly amazing to see the actors – especially the kids – grow over the last decade.  It’s also been fun to see how many British actors and actresses have been cast over the eight movies.  To me, it seems like it’s become a badge of honor to be cast, not unlike appearing on Sesame Street or the Muppets Show.

Dating myself?  Check.

Anyway, the line for this week’s comic was easy, but the visual proved to be much harder.  CJ and I flirted with trying to draw the head boy and the kids on the staircases at Hogwarts, and then writing in requirements for some piece of software into the railings and steps.  I didn’t think I could actually draw the staircases small enough to be recognizable and in motion, but in enough detail that you could actually read the words.  Then I struck on the idea of having the rug pulled out from under you as being a metaphor for having the requirements change on a project.  An Agile (with a capital “A”) approach to software can handle a lot of change on a project, but sometimes you still feel like the kids in the comic.

The real visual stroke of genius (CJ’s, of course) this week, though, was working the word “Requirements” into the scene.  Can you find it?