Dec 31, 2008

Good Riddance 2008!

Well it's finally over. The year of constant irritation.
Gone (hopefully) is the year where every small that could go wrong went wrong.

Don't mistaken me, some stuff has gone right in 2008. I did manage to graduate with my education degree. I did make it back to Canada twice to catch up with peoples long left behind.

Yet this was also the year that saw me have immigration problems of the dumbest sort, develop a cholesterol problem, not get paid for months and months in a row, and failing to get jobs that were easily in my capabilities and experience (namely Dinosaur Park and 4 at the Otago Museum!)

Finally as though a conclusion to this year today my labtop tried to commit suicide! I was able to save the puter part and all my (mostly unbacked up!) photos, 3D files, and Traumador content. That having been said I did have to buy a $350 monitor to sub in for it now completely dead LCD screen! Meaning it is not so much a labtop as so much as a top... or is that a lab?
No worries as these pictures will attest. It is over. In with 2009 I say, and hope that it is a year of a different sort!

Being in one of the first countries in the world to experience the new year is kinda neat. I write this from 2009 while most of you are still asleep in the early morning of new year's eve.

Rhonwyn and I had a fairly mellow New Year's evening other than heading out to watch the fireworks at midnight (I write this literally seconds after getting home).This was on account of none of our friends having very concrete plans (or being out of town) which suited me and and my rather diminished mood just fine. I was in a grumpy state due to my puter's near death experience this morning (which for the record tends to sour one's mood I've discovered).

As you catch up to me in the "wonderful" world of the future I hope you all have Happy New Years, and I'll catch you on the flip side. Yo.

Hopefully this year is a lot better than the one just leaving!

Dec 28, 2008

One Tough Dino

This post's title is a deliberate pun. Not only were the Ankylosaurs tough due to their armoured hides, but that also makes them tough as to make in 3D!!!

After 5 times the effort of a regular Dinosaur I present the complete Euoplocephalus...

Man I'm not looking forward to posing anything to do with the neck or tail! So it probably won't make too many appearances on Traumador.

Dec 25, 2008

X-mas Panorama Style!

Merry X Mas!!! Which I've already had, on account of New Zealand being in the future compared to most people.

What a crazy and hectic couple weeks its been... It took the shut down of all things civilized, due to the holiday day, for things to calm down!

For starters I made it back safe(ish) and sound from my hike along the Kepler Track. Not that is wasn't without incident, but I'll be posting on the whole trek in more detail soon (probably tomorrow). Enjoy this sample pic of the hike for now.

You'll note the professional quality style panorama nature of the shot. This is the result of today's funny X-Mas story.
Rhonwyn and myself spent X-Mas day with our friends Paul and Laura. Somehow Paul got to showing me his really amazing panorama software which blew me away. When he saw how psyched I was about it, he whipped out its DVD and installed it on mine and Rhonwyn's machines. Next thing you know EVERYONE was at their respective computers for an hour making panorama shots! Not the typical X-Mas activity I know, but we all had fun and now have amazing products to show for it!

To give you an idea, here is one of my own hand made panoramas (you may recall from 2007) in which you can see the lines and lighting differences of the various photos I stuck together in photoshop.

This is the result of the new and improved program. What blows me away is the program stretches and colour balances it all perfectly, and it only takes literally 1 min per panorama! My photoshopping efforts could take up to 45 min (more due to the size of the photos I was cutting and pasting).
Anyways hope you and yours have a happy holiday, and find something equally fun to do (whether it be conventional or non-conventional)

Dec 20, 2008

Busy Week with... Fossils!

Well tons has been happening lately. It really deserves several posts.

The skool year just ended down here, and as a result so has work for a little while. There was a degree of poetic justice to my last teaching gig of the year. It was at the skool I started off in at the beginning of the year. So that was nice seeing all those kids again (and getting paid for it... I had planned to pop in on their last day, but this way I didn't have to). As I wasn't in their room it lead to the funniest skool yard duty I've ever had with that whole room worth of kids following and swarming around me during my rounds.

I'm leaving Salmond after two years. So packing has had to occur in the bits and pieces of time I've had throughout the week. I hate packing, but it'll be nice to be in a real place again. Hopefully I never have to live with any first year uni students again (that alone over a hundred of them).

I write this on the cusp of departing for a big hiking trip that will see me gone until X-Mas eve. Update you on that when I get back.

This week's big news has been what kept me out of the house...
I finally have gotten to head out and do some palaeo field work here in New Zealand! This was a big week for it too.

Last weekend I took one of the vice principals in town and his kids out fossil hunting, and found my first bone in New Zealand. Turns out it was from a Moa, which was cool.

This was quickly followed by correspondence from Dr. Ewan Fordyce of the Otago Museum inviting me to join him on a field excursion. It was really productive, and I learned a brand new excavation technique that I've been told by my Canadian contacts should get written up. So I might look into that, with permission from the inventor of the technique Dr. Fordyce of course.

Anyways Traumador will probably have a TON to say about the outing once we get his Drumheller exploits over and done with (which have barely begun... I need to get the whip cracking over there).

Funny story related to all this, that I have been meaning to post, but haven't managed too till now.

Like my shirt?

Well about a month ago I discovered many other people did. While out shopping for groceries at the local farmers market I was suddenly stopped at one point by a gentleman who spotted my shirt. His immediate question upon stopping me, I assumed I'd dropped something, was to ask if I'd been there in regards to my shirt. Alerting to not only that I had, but that I'd helped in field work up there we had a nice 15 minute chat about all things Burgress Shale and Cambrian.

Than about 5 minutes later I ran in Dr. Fordyce who also noted the shirt, and this conversation (as an extension of an ongoing internet exchange we'd been having for about a week previous) triggered this week's field outing.

So the lesson dress for success, I guess. Geeky success anyways!

Last thing is an update on the Ankylosaur model. Okay, to answer Peter, technically a Euoplocephalus model.

With everything going on this week I only really managed a day after my last post to work on him. This is by FAR the hardest Dinosaur model I've worked on. I've had to rework the body armour 5 times, and I'm not totally happy with this version. It is a compromise that allows me to pose him when I'm finished. I had one variant that probably would have been amazing, but unposable. Thus requiring me to remodel the whole thing if I wanted a different position.

Anyways I'd love to sit here and update you some more, but I just halfway through that last paragraph have been informed we're leaving. So catch on my return, and merry X-Mas!

Dec 15, 2008

The Toughest of Dinosaurs

The list of general Dinosaur types I haven't built a 3D model for is shrinking by the day.

Two particular families of plant eater have intimidated me for a long while, but I finally bite the bullet today (my first day of work less holidays). I present one completed armoured Dinosaur, and one in progress.

First off the completed Stegosaur. I had planned on an elaborate solution to the plates, but I just ended up modelling them standard and manually placing them. So I got the model done quick(er), but posing it might prove slightly annoying. Fortunately it's only half of the plates that are in moving parts.
Here it is properly lite (not posed mind you).

Here is the start of my next, and probably hardest Dinosaur type. The armoured Ankylosaurs.
I'm happy with the top dome armour, but not sure about the bottom. I may rework some BIGGER armour for the top and swap the current dome stuff to take the place of the bottom "bubbles". Let me know what you think.

Dec 10, 2008

A New Record

With the winding down of the skool year down here (the last day for primary kids is next Tuesday) I'm finding I have a lot more time. Awesome.

So one of my big projects as of late is building up a much larger army/stockpile of CG Dinosaurs for use in my various projects (mostly Traumador).

One of the problems with Dinosaurs is they take a lot of time to build. Even now with a nice inventory of them to modify into missing type it takes me typically 4-6 hours just to make new textures for them.

Today I pulled off a record though. Not only did I do 2 new textures in a day (I have done this once before), but I remodelled two of my existing Dinos into two totally brand new families!

Would you believe this Ostrich mimic used to be a Velociraptor (whose shader I completed, and than I started tinkering with the model and eventually made this!)? He still needs some work, but considering how MUCH different the two are, I'm claiming a achievement for one day.
This Stegoceras (aka bonehead dino) was a big huge MEGA breakthrough. I'd been thinking how I might tackle the difficult dome on these guys. Due to all my 3Ding as of late this sort of challenge, even though doing my head in for about 30 minutes, are becoming easier and easier to solve. I'm getting intuitive with how my modelling window works, and even though it doesn't respond logically often I'm starting to instinctively know how to coax into doing what I want.
So now the only really big Dino families I'm in need of are the, very frightening, Ankylosaurs and Stegosaurs. Keep you posted (and they are coming!)

An actual interview!

Well this is the 4th or 5th time I've applied for a position at the local Otago Museum. Unlike all my other attempts I actually got an interview this time!

The position is basically just one small step up the totem pole from what I was doing at the Tyrrell, but it is exactly the sort of job I was aiming to get with my education degree.

The interview was today around lunchtime. However ever since the absolute joke that was my DPP interview results (again I quote "need more experience working with children") my confidence on these sorts of things is completely shot. I can't say how it went. Probably not as bad as I'm feeling at moment. The DPP thing has felt like an Albatross around my neck all year, and thus made me weary about this sort of stuff.

If I don't get the position it'll suck, but at least I do have a job next year to fall back on. So it won't disrupt life if they pass up on me.

In trying to keep up a positive face, how could they resist a museum veteran like me though? ;p

Dec 6, 2008

Man Wikipedia Needs Improving

Who knew Wikipedia could be so frustrating. All it took was one line and now my whole Saturday has become a giant side project. Granted on with very cool results, but still.

The announcement of a Palaeo Art competition in Europe with some pretty hefty prizes had me thinking of submitting a 3D piece or two into it. As one of the criteria the judges would smile on favourable are illustrations of Portuguese species I decided to apply try and use my kung fu Mosasaurs.

Which is where Wikipedia came in. In my efforts to find out if there were any Portuguese Mosasaurs (which I couldn't confirm or deny... I'm suspecting not, but does anyone know for sure?) I hit a sentence that really pissed me off.

Many of the 'dinosaur' remains found on New Zealand, a volcanic island chain that was never connected to any of the continents, are actually mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, another group of Mesozoic predatory marine reptiles.

You'll note the highlighted and italicized section. What they were saying about most Kiwi Mezesoic fossils being marine reptiles is completely true. However the author thought they were being clever by hypothesising why. They'd heard New Zealand was volcanic, and as it was an island it must be like say Hawaii. Makes sense right? Sure, except they're completely WRONG!

Now I'll admit I on occasion try to connect dots like this myself, but typically I'll have tried to find the answer first if I'm putting it up on the web. This person clearly didn't bother to look it up at all!

If they had they'd have found out about this...

The thing is New Zealand was very MUCH attached to the other continents before it became a separate island "chain". In fact it was connected to two of them! Australia and Antarctica. When it originally separated from them it was a continent itself, Zealandia as geologists call it, which was half the size of Australia!

However due to Zealandia's relative thin continental crust it sank shortly after separation, and most of it sank with the exception of what would become modern New Zealand and the few other surrounding islands.

Now I was so infuriated by the Mosasaur sentence I actually went into Wikipedia and edited it. So you won't find that version. I was gracious enough to leave the original sentence minus the offending aside (which wasn't needed anyway). Now that I've seen how easy it is to change things on Wiki I'm going to be a lot more doubtful about stuff I read on there!

However I was left with both a residual sting of annoyance, and a need to show off my knowledge of this apparently specialized geologic history. Especially given no one had ever illustrated it before!

I'd been wanting to learn how to do this anyway.

I was going to create a realistic continent!

The only reference I had of Zealandia was this topographic map.

If you weren't able to make out which parts were Zealandia here it is outlined.

Through some photoshopping of a high resolution globe of the modern Earth I was able to steal bits and pieces of various modern continents to make a pretty convincing ancient Zealandia. The great thing is though we know roughly what its outline was, no one can tell me I got the details wrong. The only thing we know is that it was a very flat place, and that modern New Zealand's mountains are a pretty recent geologic event.

As this creating land from "nothing" technique I'd thought of a few months ago (but never tried) worked in the first go I decided to take some more time to throw a few comparative pics together.

I was going to get around to trying this anyway, just hadn't planned on today, as Traumador will soon be going into more New Zealand palaeo stuff. With a possible "trip" of sorts where he might explore it closer...

Let me know what you think.

Dec 3, 2008

We go way back...

So long before I worked at the Tyrrell Museum (though I'd always dreamed I would... just not the way it happened), I'd been visiting it nearly every year.
Here is the ONLY photo of me at the museum pre-2003. Despite this lack of photographic evidence I had been there throughout the years (it helps that its only a 1.5 hour drive from cowtown).

Though there are few photos of me there, I still accumulated evidence I'd been there. Trace fossils as it were. These are two pins still in my pin collection.

There are of course many stories and memories I could relay. Frankly I'm a little out of steam today (I actually had marking to do... remember I'm a freaking sub! Since when am I supposed to do marking?!?).

Nov 30, 2008

Living at a Museum

Welcome to my entry for the "My Favourite Museum" boneyard. Now because Traumador has published on the Tyrrell museum and I couldn't really hope to add much to what he's already said, I've decided to come at this topic a different way.

For many of us museums are a fun place to visit and explore, some us very lucky people even get to work at them, but only a few of us can realistically claim to have lived at a museum.

I am one of those few. While I worked at the Royal Tyrrell Museum's Badlands Science Camp in 2005, for all intents and purposes I LIVED at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Though I worked at camp two years (2005 and 2006) it was only in the camps pilot year that I truly HAD to live at the museum. In this first year it was not certain how the general public and the locals would react to and treat our camp site. Being located just off the major footpath in Midland Provincial Park there was a lot of potential for vandalism and trespassing. So the staff were required to live on site to ensure that it was "secure".
Fortunately nobody had it in for our camp stuff, and every year after the first staff have been required to NOT live on site. Probably because of we the first lot. Not that we were badly behaved, but just rather it proved to be an odd experience for us AND the museum as a whole.
Now technically we lived in the camp's tepees, which, okay granted, weren't really a physical part of the museum. Yet they were just one step removed from being so. Being a mere 10 minute walk from the museum, and with no really infrastructure of their own to begin with (we didn't get a proper toilet at camp for 3 weeks!) we staffers ended up living out of the camp office and staff lounge at the Tyrrell an awful lot!

There had never been staff quite like us.
In the morning we'd wake up tend to any on site stuff, and than trek into the museum as the opening shift was arriving. Making us among the first in the place for the day. We'd shower, eat breakfast (in the staff room, much to the annoyance of some of the big brass), and than get to work in the camp office.
Our work day technically ended at 4pm like the other early people, but as all we really had to do was either go hangout in the badlands for the rest of the day or stay in the air conditioned and populated museum. So we usually opted to keep working until 7-8pm. We didn't mind not getting paid, there was a ton of stuff to set up before the kids showed up that first year.
By the time we brushed our teeth, hit the toilet (again it took us forever to get one on site!), and hiked ourselves back to the camp, we were among the last to leave the building.
Working at the museum two years previous had taken some of the magical edge off the place. Living there killed the magic off in many ways. The Tyrrell has never been quite the same for me since. Not that it is a bad thing.
In some ways I'm closer to the place than the people who have been working there since it opened. It has a feeling of home, and that's because, apart from sleeping, I really did live in that place (and when the kids were at camp we'd sleep one night of the 5 in the Dinosaur Hall!).
Now I've of course already posted about some of my work experiences at the museum, but mostly to do with the palaeo side of my job. Camp was a totally different set of experiences and rewards. I'd worked summer camps before, and I'd worked at the museum before, but combining the two has been my favourite job so far in my life.

Sure much of the magic was taken off working at the museum, but at the same time I gained something way cooler. I became Mr. Museum!
Building a camp from the ground up is intense and you need the help and resources of all kinds of people. Being one of 3 people running around and rallying this help and those resources I quickly built an incredible network around the museum. It was so cool to get to know and work with nearly every department and branch of the institution. Even cooler is that I can still go in and visit most of them even these days! I haven't worked there in 2 years!

The other awesome thing about living at work is the bonds you make with your fellow staff. Now this is more an element of the summer camp, and not so much the museum (and I have the same thing with many of the Kiwanians), but these guys are more like family than co-workers or friends.

Of course I also have always loved working with kids, and that was pretty much all I did both those years from the beginning of July till the end of August. The fact I was educating, and doing Dinosaurs and palaeo was just icing on the cake!

What was even cooler was that due to our program being 5 continuous days of living (with the kids) at the museum, we had to fill up the time with some pretty unique experiences to make it worth their while. As of such the kids got to be, all but one step removed from, actual palaeontologists those 5 days. They got to go places and do things other visitors could only dream of... Of course as the staff member leading 6 camps all summer I got to do it ALL 6 times! Two years in a row!!!

Our collections tour for example. My first 2 years as an interpreter I got to see collections once a year. After two years of camp and the 8 collections visits, I got "tired" of the place... Not really, but it wasn't an elusive elite place anymore.

The educator in me had a field day. Literally sometimes (pun intended!). My big complaint with teaching for real is you can't have fun like this or be this silly in the skool system.

Another one of the things I had a lot of fun with was the program development. Due to our having SO much time to fill we camp staff invented probably 2 days worth of stuff that was spread out throughout the week for the kids to do. It was cool seeing the 6 programs I came up with go from ideas on paper in the pre-season, get setup and put together usually just in time for the kids to arrive, and finally see the campers try them out.

Granted not all of them were hits or without their flaws. The problem with only have 2 months (with no great play testing time) is that sometimes these ideas didn't work out. The most infamous of these was my "bloody" Corythosaur.
Despite these set backs and minor crisis, I enjoyed them in a way too. I got to creative problem solve. Something I do enjoy about substitute teaching these days.

I also doubled my canoe experience those summers. Due to my being a certified (expired mind you) flatwater canoe instructor I got to lead all 8 trips of those summers. The red deer river was a piece of cake to boat, despite it being a "moving" body, and there were no truly scary moments or incidents. Mind you like all field outings there were many stressful moments for us staff, but the kids loved it.

However my favourite of favourite memories from camp though, were the themes. A summer camp theme is basically a improv interactive drama put on for the kids where all the events of camp are framed with a loose story. At Kiwanis these were put to minor to moderate use in my day there, and as it was my favourite thing I brought it to Science camp with a vengeance.
There is almost nothing else I love more in the world than putting on a costume and pretending I'm someone way more fantastic or cool than myself. Especially around kids as they have imaginations enough to keep up with my own. That and they appreciate make belief for the fun that it is!

Taking my 3 years at Kiwanis and their themes, I perfected camp theme to a level that will probably never be rivalled at our budget! You can get the whole story about that here.

A huge bit of camp, that lives on into this day, was Traumador. He was entwined in everything we did at camp. Often "helping" introduce or lead programs, or in a few cases the one delivering the program...

So much was Traumador a key part of these good times, me and Peter realized that to keep something of these summers alive later in our lives Traumador was our best bet. The Tyrannosaur Chronicles owes its existence to Traumador being the heart and soul of camp.

Those days are sadly over, and they're not coming back. I'll always miss the unexpected nature of camp, and the way every day ended up being a thousand adventures (big and small). You never know what was going to happen. Whether it be a random visit from the hospital helicopter (not for medical reasons thankfully!) one minute, head off to canoe the river, dig or look for fossils, or get into costume as a villainous "minion" jump into your car drive to the field trip across the valley so the bad guys appeared to be everywhere!

I still remember this moment with crystal clarity. This picture was taken 30 seconds after I delivered my last program at camp ever. Here you see all my key camp tools piled together on a chair as you'd never see them during a camp. During camp they were my lifeline, and always in use getting me to the end of the day. Now they were just idly sit here ready to collect dust. Because camp would never come to them (or me) again.
Yes I do miss camp often, but at the same time I also realize I need to get on with my life. More to the point there's bound to be something else out there that is as equal an adventure as living at a museum. So if you know what it is could you let me know.

Nov 27, 2008

Update: Phone Crisis

Okay lower Craig threat level to Orange striped Purple polka dots.

I will be keeping my phone while at Salmond.

The internet will hopefully be retained too, but this is a little more up in the air. If it is lost it'll only be for a week.

I'm still rather annoyed at the breakdown in communication on their part. With only a sign reading "Next week internet service will be lost" to go on there was a lot of room for imagination. I'm just glad when I asked the staff (all of whom knew next to nothing about any it) I did find out the phones were involved too.

So back to work. Which is a good bit of news. The work hasn't dried up. Despite only having two bookings for this week I've had 4 days, and nothing saying I won't get A CALL tomorrow making it my second 5 dayer week.

Nov 25, 2008

If it isn't one thing it's a *BEEP*ing other!

I'm getting sick of being a "real" person, and I haven't even made it a year.

So for a huge amount of this year I was waging a bureaucratic war to get paid, which I finally won.

I thought life was finally going to let up on me for a while. There haven't been any major issues, apart from Lady R getting sick a lot lately, and I've been getting tons of work...

Of course this is me we're talking about. As any of my friends will tell you, the universe will not let me do anything the *BEEP*ing easy way! Not ever.

Walking into the Salmond lobby this evening, I saw a sign that could very well spell the doom of my new success. They're cutting my Internet AND phone line next week.

Now the Internet I could maybe manage without for a month, but the timing is unbelievably bad. Especially given Traumador's big event next week (the same day as the cut funny enough!).

No, the part about this that has me furious beyond words is the phone line. This is where I get all my work from! If I lose my phone I lose my job, period. Due to the costs of mobile phone calls here in NZ, they won't call me on my cell (one of the many problems with a privatised school system, another example being the pay system!).

As for getting a "regular" job, Lady R has been looking for a job for almost a month, and with the current economic crisis going on, there are no jobs.

Now I'm writing this as of 10 minutes post reading the sign, and haven't been able to talk to the guy in charge of the communication systems. So they can't give me any answers till tomorrow. However if they can't make an exception for me, I'm royally f**ked, and yet again through no fault of my own!

Yeah growing up and being a "real" person is "awesome"!


Nov 10, 2008

Help out Laelaps

Brian over at Laelaps is in the running for a pretty huge blogging scholarship (which he could obviously use), but he needs our help!

Click here and vote for Brian Switek if you support blogging, science, and especially palaeotology.

Nov 8, 2008

It's good to know my University knows who I am!

In my efforts to get the pay owed to me (oh I did finally get paid some of my money), I need to prove the extent of my education and qualifications.

Which means transcripts and similar fun things (like notarized copies of degrees and diplomas). In my effort to get a transcript from the University of Calgary it was very reassuring when my account came up as this. There's only one small mistake, but it is a key one. Can you see it?

Now I don't have many nice things to say about UoC. Their more of a machine, trying to process as many students with as little effort as they can, than an educational institution. I'd like to say this is a new low for them, but sadly its more the norm. Like that time I was forced to cancelling graduating due to the setup of their website. That's another story though.

At least I have yet a new nickname based on someone's misspelling of my name. Though Kristin's were much funnier for "some" reason.

Nov 2, 2008

Bruce Timm's Batman Gotham Knight

Among my favourite TV shows of all time, and definitely on the short of best comic adaptations in my book is Bruce Timm's DC animated series (Batman, Batman Beyond, Superman, and Justice League). Of course sadly after the fourth season of Justice League this line of shows came to an end, and Bruce Timm moved on to make direct to DVD animated movies for DC.

I'd been meaning to check these out earlier, but due to their very delayed release in New Zealand it hasn't been till this month I started to track them down. Finding Superman Doomsday in the bargin bin, and than Batman Gotham Knight at the rental shop I've suddenly got more than I can effective watch in my busy schedule.

Since it had to go back Gotham Knight got the first viewing, and I have to say if its the norm than I'm regretting the $8 on Superman (hopefully that's not the case, but that'll have to wait till another day).

So the very brief review is of course I'm very very glad I rented this, and didn't buy it.

In a style similar to the Animatrix a bunch of independent animation teams did some shorts on Batman which were than combined to make a movie. To call it a movie is frankly a stretch, and this product is in essence is 6 shorts that barely tie together.

If there is one thing this "movie" has its style. So much of it you feel it being shoved down your throat the whole time the DVD is playing.

Sadly they over crammed it so much with style they forgot to put in anything else. There are some impressive drawings of Gotham, Batman, other characters from the comics that appear on screen for huge chunks of time, but forget this supposed to be an animated show. Rather in some of these sketches (the second in particular) feel more like a slide show of the artist's sketch book.

The majority of this style derives from anime, and sadly in most cases from the type of anime I don't enjoy. Story, dialogue, and action take a back seat to establishing a setting or a mood as characters just sit there blankly starring into space, at each other, or where ever and shots of locations of things go on for tens of seconds.

Making for some really dull view frankly. This shot being a key example. The only difference between this still shot and the movie is that, after the crook holding the hostage threats to kill her, the fire moves and we get to watch that for about 10 seconds.

Making it especially boring is that to establish the effect of Batman, most of the creators feel that Batman should appear as little as possible. Sort of like the shark in Jaws. So instead we spend 90% of sketches with kids, COPs, or Bruce Wayne flash backs.

The opening short was certainly the worse. Which I thought was stupid. Opening on the weakest just seems silly to me.

In a classic cliche a bunch of street kids sit around telling their tales of run ins with the Dark Knight. Only these are truly from a kids point of view which portray Batman as everything from a giant bat, a robot, and a living shadow (ALL terribly drawn I'll add!) with Batman showing up for 5 seconds in the end of the short. In the actual Bruce Timm there is a brilliant episode with this concept only the kid's tales are all adaptations of different eras of Batman meaning you get lots of Batman rather than none...

From here on the sketches tried to feel interconnected, and be in the Batman Begins universe. Note I did say try to. The sketches that were good were those that really tried to stick to this format.

However due to the 6 different styles it jarred you out of this illusion quickly. If not for Kevin Conroy being the constant voice of Bruce Wayne and Batman there were some sketches I wouldn't have caught on to who was supposed to be Bruce Wayne (though one of them once you catch it was a GREAT anime-ized Christian Bale)

So out of the 6 shorts, 2 were amazing/awesome, 2 were meh, 1 was just too boring to be anything above meh, and the first was just awful.

The success of the 2 good shorts was the fact they had some story to them. Overall these shorts had no build of any sort other than again mood/style. Most of them just putter storytelling wise with some dialogue about a gang war, and nothing more than that until suddenly for no reason gangsters show up and shot at things till Batman shows up to beat them up.
Sketch 3 really broke this mould with a great little story of Luscious Fox designing a belt gizmo that deflects bullets for Batman. The problem with it is that it works too well rather than not at all a repelled bullet critically injuries one of the gunmen leading Batman to realize with such a device its not just his life he is putting on the line.

Sketch 6 works due to the great adaptation of the villain Deadshot to the Batman Begins universe. I'll take my quick moment to state I've been saying we'll see Deadshot in Batman 3 since immediately after viewing Dark Knight. Forget those stupid Penguin and Riddler rumours, how would they work in the ubber real Nolan movies? Deadshot does, and I really think we'll see him.

Sadly short 4's attempt at adapting Killer Croc was just lame. Between him being a big thug who sharpened his teeth and wearing a crocodile skin and his in the end being a lackey of Scarecrow's this short's story was all over the place. If it had more than 10 minutes it might have been a mediocre story, but crammed in like it was it was just all over the place and lacked any suspense.
So to sum up. Gotham Knight had style to spare, but not much else. The 3rd and 6th shorts are definitely worth a watching if you get your hands on the DVD, but overall its not worth more than a $1-3 rental that alone buying.