964: Dorm Poster

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Dorm Poster
I was going to record an album with that cover under the name "PINK FTFY", so it'd come after them on the store CD rack. But at this point music stores are just rooms where CDs are set out to age before they're thrown away, so probably nobody would see it.
Title text: I was going to record an album with that cover under the name "PINK FTFY", so it'd come after them on the store CD rack. But at this point music stores are just rooms where CDs are set out to age before they're thrown away, so probably nobody would see it.


In this comic, Cueball, as a student, moves into a dorm. There is a poster on the wall with the album artwork, by Hipgnosis, for Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon. It shows a beam of light passing through a dispersive prism and separating into a rainbow. This is a fairly common poster to have on a wall, particularly for someone in their late teens to early twenties, and is generally seen as a cliché. After thinking a bit, the new student makes a poster that uses a lens to reverse the rainbow into another prism, likely to mess with his new roommate. This idea actually isn't very innovative, because the original backside of the album contained the reverse rainbow and prism (but not the lens). The setup with two prisms was used by Isaac Newton to prove that white light is composed of different colors of light.

In the title text, Randall makes the joke that by recording a record under the name "PINK FTFY" (fixed that for you), the name of his band would come immediately after Pink Floyd alphabetically, so the album would be to the right of Pink Floyd's album for Dark Side of the Moon, allowing for the same image seen in the back of the dorm room to be on the shelves of the record store. Since the cover of his album would be catching the light from Pink Floyd's album and forming white light once again, Randall would be "fixing" the cover of Dark Side of the Moon. However Randall makes the crack that no one would see the joke, because of the fact that most music is bought and downloaded online, which has significantly decreased the traffic to record stores in recent years - catastrophically so at the time of this comic's publication, before the popularity of vinyl rebounded in the late 2010s.


[Cueball finds his dorm room. He is standing with a paper in his hand in front of a door labeled "117".]
Paper: 117
[View into the dorm room. The left half is already occupied, and a roommate has filled his side with the normal accoutrements of dorm life. There is a Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" poster hanging on the far wall, offset and only on the roommate's side.]
[Cueball has a bit of a ponder.]
[Cueball leaves for a bit.]
[Cueball returns with an item.]
[View into the dorm room. Cueball is moving in, and has placed a second Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" poster modified with a lens in the rainbow's path. The poster is placed upside down on Cueball's side of the far wall to catch the rainbow, feed it back into the prism, and turn it back into a narrow stream of white light.]

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I just noticed that he has the same poster, he (cueball) just turned it upside-down and drew a lens on it. 02:53, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

The poster is not the same poster turned upside-down. If you look at the rainbow, the rainbow still matches up with the original poster on the left, meaning that if you turned the poster on the right "right-side up", the rainbow would be upside-down when compared to the one on the left.-- 06:56, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Note also that cueball's side of the room is an inverse of the left side of the room in other ways. The left bed has linens, the right does not, the left side of the room is messy, the right is not, the person on the left is sitting at a desktop, cueball is standing at a laptop and so on.

Given that in the first panel the guy is looking at a piece of paper with the room number, and that the right side isn't just clean, it's devoid of any items save the desk and the bed (sans linen), I'd say it's likely the second guy has just moved in, and hasn't had a chance to cause a mess.-Pennpenn 02:37, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Possibly, but it might also be that he's an ultra-minimalist obsessed with purity - he's working on his laptop before even finding a chair - and has created this new poster to purify the light and get rid of all those messy colors. 17:37, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Also worth mentioning that this album cover is a very popular - to the point of cliche - poster to have in a student dorm. 14:26, 15 March 2013 (UTC)Chris C

Did anyone notice that the room number is 117? Does Randall play Halo? Or is that just a coincidence? You just lost the game. NinjaWolf064 (talk) 05:50, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Have to agree with NinjaWolf064 on this one. Or it's a reference to a hotel room in the Bourne Ultimatum film in the Tangier scene. Grif (talk) 00:12, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

The original vinyl sleeve actually looks like those two posters but backwards. The back of the jacket is split light being recombined by a prism and shot at an upwards angle into the prism on the front cover, where it is split again. Demonstrated here: http://mobile.collectorsfrenzy.com/gallery/230925609565.jpg 20:25, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Also, the other figure in the dorm seems to be the "total douchebag" with a goatee and glasses from http://www.xkcd.com/796/. I think this is his only other appearance, does this say something about Randall's view of Pink Floyd and their fans? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

That goatee/glasses figure is also a psychologist in http://www.xkcd.com/435/ and a person riding the escalator in http://www.xkcd.com/954/. 06:07, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
   [Cueball finds home.] 
   [View into the dorm room. Cueball II lives there.] 
   [Cueball sees his life unfolding.] 
   [Cueball fetches his clobber.] 
   [Cueball returns.] 
   [View into the dorm room. Cueball / Cueball : Ying / Ying. All is harmony.] 

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 21:07, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

The second prism is dispersing (un-dispersing?) light the wrong way, in that it is bending red light through a larger angle than purple. The first prism has it correct. As I'm kind of new here, appreciate any thoughts on whether this sort of thing belongs in the explanation, or trivia section, or it's fine just keeping it to the comments section. Redbelly98 (talk) 00:18, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

The prism is also incorrectly flipped over on the back cover of the actual Pink Floyd album, so it seems likely that R.M. knew about the original album cover design when he drew this comic. 18:42, 14 November 2018 (UTC)

Anyone else think the figurine on top of the desk (left side, next to the water bottle) looks like Trogdor The Burninator?

This is really interesting. See ... you're all using a left-to-right writing system (English in Roman letters), so you read the light as coming from top left and exiting bottom right, like the text on this page. Of course, in terms of it being a picture, there's no reason the light source couldn't be on the bottom right (in the last panel) and being dispersed/combined in the other direction. Nitpicking (talk) 21:03, 17 September 2021 (UTC)