Monthly Archives: November 2007

Turkish Star Wars

We’ve not been posting much lately, due to life being overwhelming. We’re going to fix that this week. And what better way to give you the original content you’ve come to expect from us than by posting YouTube videos!

Let’s get down to it.

Did you know that there’s a Turkish version of Star Wars? Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, or The Man Who Saves the World, was a 1982 film that lifted parts of the plot and entire clips from Star Wars.

It is 100% awesome.

Here’s the last ten minutes of the film.

And that’s just the end. If you watched the whole thing, you’d need to bring several extra jaws, because those jaws would continue to be dropped throughout.

If Eli Had Thoughts on the Writers’ Strike

So Hollywood writers are striking. Good for them. Instead of trying to explain the strike, I’ll point to John Rogers, who has a nice rundown on the reason for the strike, as well as some follow-up thoughts.

All of that is a lead-up to the following video, which a friend of mine pointed me to, with the comment, “For some reason, this reminded me of you and Eli.” It’s Neal “Alternadad” Pollack and his son, Elijah, discussing the writers’ strike.

For the record, I asked Eli about his position on 100-pound 100-feet-tall T. Rexes. “No. I like Darth Vader, he’s my favorite, but T. Rex and Darth Maul are not.”

Liza Red in Toothless Maw

Dear Liza,

You’ve been teething for quite some time now, and frankly, it’s time you stopped. It’s making you irritable, causing you to wake up six or seven times in the night. You have diarrhea. You have occasional fever. You will not be soothed.

We’re not doing so well, your mom and I. We’d gotten soft, lazing about in our bed for six, seven, sometimes eight hours a night. You were only waking up once or twice in the night. Some nights, I never had to get out of bed.

No more. Now that your teeth are imminent, you’ve been cutting them and cutting into our sleep schedule.

Teeth are overrated, really. I know, I know, everyone else has them, but you know what? They’re a hassle. You have to brush your teeth and floss them, or else they rot. Every six months you have to go to the dentist, who will take very sharp picks and scrape them along your teeth like a shopping cart along the side of a car. You’ll probably get to have braces. Your mom and I will pay good money for people to string poky bits of wire between your teeth. In theory the wire will straighten them, but mainly they’ll rub the inside of your lips raw and broadcast the WLRH fund drives into your nasal cavities.

Shall I go on? Regardless of how well you take care of your teeth, you’ll probably have cavities. Then the dentist will have to drill it out, hot tooth chips flying about in your mouth and onto your lips. And the sound! Do you know what a dentist’s drill sounds like? It sounds like this. Ask for the nitrous oxide, that’s all I’ve got to say. And I haven’t even talked about root canals!

Who needs teeth? You can eat milkshakes without them, and blender technology is improving in leaps and bounds. There are whole websites dedicated to blending things not meant to be blended, and if your blender can handle an iPhone, surely it can handle a pork loin with mixed vegetables.

So what do you say you cut out the teeth instead of cutting them? We’ll invest in the most powerful blender we can find and everyone will sleep better. Do we have a deal?

Blearily,

Your Dad.

Where Did the Past Two Weeks Go?

Wow! The past two weeks have been crazy!

LanaBob! was here last week. We had an awesome time and she actually got to stay longer than expected. So I feel like we had a nice long visit where she got to spend time with the kidlets and get to know them better and we got to get all of our visiting done. At least for this month.

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Then this week, I’ve been doing work. Some of it paid and some of it the usual stuff that I do. But man, has it all piled on this week.

And also, Christmas.

Day before yesterday I had that panicked feeling I get when I realize I am not organized for Christmas. It’s worse now with kids because even though we have a present limit, I still fill as if there’s twice as much stuff to buy. This year, there’s two sets of teachers to buy for and little friends to make goodie bags for and just the general list making that always happens this time of year. I’m not complaining about all of that, because I love it but it feels as if it’s sneaking up on me. Must be the lack of sleep.

And recently Liza has been sleeping poorly. As in she thinks she needs to eat and poop and do all that other daytime stuff at night. And to really put the cherry on top of all of that, she had a fever last night. She seems fine today so I’m hoping it’s a teething issue but we are abstaining from our regular Wednesday activities to be safe and not infect others if we are viral.

But it’s all good because yesterday I took this picture of my two peas in a pod:
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Please Keep All Engine Parts Inside the Vehicle at All Times

Life is busy here at the Granade compound, what with hating on Guitar Hero and keeping Eli and now Liza in cages. All I have time for is to point out, once again, that rocket science is indeed hard. Armadillo Aerospace tried to win the X Prize Lunar Lander Challenge at the end of October. They didn’t make it. Among other things, Pixel, their test craft, tilted far enough that the software triggered an abort. Here’s the money quote.

There were some very disturbing impulse events during the flight over, which were probably pieces of the engine departing the vehicle. I was letting the clock run out only a few feet above the ground when, with only a few seconds remaining, something (probably half of the nozzle retaining ring departing) pushed the vehicle hard enough to cause it to tilt past the abort limit even with the gimbal scrambling over to maximum compensation. The vehicle tilted over and fell to the ground on its side.

“Disturbing impulse events” indeed. Euphemisms aside, I’m impressed Armadillo Aerospace has been as upfront about what happened. Their entire report is full of interesting details, including their fixing a clogged fuel orifice using a manually filed-down paper clip. Now that sounds like the kind of testing I’m familiar with.

Paul and Storm and Jonathan Coulton and Podcasters

Misty was nice enough to let me drive to Atlanta to see Jonathan Coulton in concert on Friday. Paul and Storm, who were half of the a capella group Da Vinci’s Notebook, opened for him. They gave up a capella songs just for our friend Liza, though they’re still doing very jokey songs, like their opener, “Opening Band”.

It was interesting comparing their style of musical humor to that of Coulton’s. Paul and Storm’s songs are often joke-with-punchline or musical style mashups. Coulton takes more of a folk rock approach, telling stories of people (and the occasional anthropomorphic object) and letting the humor come from the characterization.

The concert was lousy with podcasters, oddly enough. I ran into Bobby Blackwolf, the handsome and talented host of the Bobby Blackwolf show — and I don’t say that just because he had me on his show last year to talk about the Interactive Fiction Competition. And after the show, a guy handed me his business card and said, “Hey, we have a podcast about games that you should listen to,” to which my friend Brian replied, “Funny, we have a podcast, too.”

I did get to meet Paul, Storm, and Jonathan after the show, helped by the fact that Brian and Crispy were filming the concert for Yahoo! News. And, yes, I apologized for the terrible things we did with Jonathan’s music.

Stephen, Jonathan Coulton, Brian, Crispy, and Asai

(Thanks, Amy, for the pic)

Amusing Me this a.m.

Last night Stephen and I were kicking around websites that are talking about his companion cube piece. Yeah, we are easily amused by our own press. If the internet isn’t good for looking at yourself, I’m not sure what else it’s good for. (Stop right there before you type “Porn” into my comment box.)

So I found this post on a site and just had to share. It’s in Spanish. See the emoticon? Yeah, that totally cracked me up.

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Never, ever wonder who our kids get the ham from.

A Second Life PSA

One of our readers, Joel Dahlquist, asked for my thoughts about a new obesity-prevention PSA from the Ad Council. Hopefully this will be the start of a new trend, since reader requests mean I don’t have to think up what to write about and can spend my time more productively by playing Portal.

Anyway, here’s the PSA in question.

There’s a whole series of these PSAs where people come across lost body parts that are mostly fat, and now that I just typed that, I realized that there’s undoubtedly a CSI episode with this premise.

This Second Life-themed PSA does several things right. Its gentle tone goes well with the subject matter. Strident PSAs don’t work as well, though they can be fun in an over-the-top way. It doesn’t take the really cheap shot and say that you might lose weight if you spent less time sitting and dinking about in Second Life. The conceit of people finding lost body parts is a good one, and this PSA goes one step further by having an actual joke to go with the conceit, unlike the other PSAs in the campaign.

It’s a shame the joke’s not very good. The core joke, that people choose wacky online avatars, isn’t making a new observation. Anyone who’s spent time on LiveJournal or a forum like SomethingAwful’s should know that people use weird names and avatars. Worse, it’s the obvious joke to make, since one of the few things non-players might know about Second Life is that people make strange avatars.

Who’s the audience for the PSA? It’s not pitched to kids who actually play Second Life. The joke’s an outsider’s observation. It’s like making a joke about how slow the action is in a baseball game and expecting baseball fans to find it funny. Kids who don’t like Second Life aren’t likely to be that entertained because the whole PSA feels like a parent trying too hard to relate to those kids today with their Xboxes and their Hannah Montanas. Adults who aren’t interested in computers or the internet aren’t going to get much out of the joke. That leaves, well, people like me. And I’m just not that impressed.

What good do PSAs do, anyway? When I was a kid, I thought they were stupid. Now that I’m an adult, I think they’re useless. Has anyone here ever seen a PSA and been moved by it to change their behavior?

New Photos on Flickr

I just uploaded a gazillion new photos. Here’s a peek:

Halloween 2007
Eli told me one day that he was going to be Spiderman for Halloween. It was news to me so I had to hustle to Wal-Mart and get a costume. While we were shopping, I asked Eli if he wanted to wear the regular red and blue Spiderman or special black Spiderman costume. Guess which one he picked?
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Giant Popsicle
The ice cream truck strikes again. He only ate the top stripe off of that popsicle but the photos are totally worth it.
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Bead Girl
The draping of things on Liza commences!
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Fall Grass Sledding
We don’t need no stinking snow to sled. Our hillside is steep enough we can take kitchen trays and get the job done. Eli, Will and Luke demonstrate about 900 times.
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Liza Sits for the First Time
I love these colors in these photos. Liza’s room makes for some good light. Also, she’s sitting. Wheeeee!
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