Monthly Archives: June 2009

Fewer Racially-Stereotyped Robots Would Also Be Nice

Last night we watched “Virtuality”, Ron Moore’s TV pilot that became a mini-movie instead. It’s about a crew of astronauts who are on a starship headed to Epsilon Eridani and who are also part of a reality TV series. Thanks to the show, I have a request: Dear science fiction and fantasy TV/movie writers, please stop using rape as motivation.

Urban Fantasy, DCTV Style

Saturday was my first opportunity to tape skits for DCTV, so of course there were vampires.

Cast photo from a DCTV shoot.

Fine, fine, we had vampire hunters as well. That’s Buffy, Alucard, Edward Cullen, Spike, and Mina Harker in that photo. Why were they all together? Find out in September!

(And thanks to Patrick for the cast photo.)

Weekend Update

I’ve been working diligently on the lighthouse cross stitch. And everything was going great until today when I sat down to begin lighthouse #3. I completely miscounted and stitched for an hour only to have to remove all but about 20 stitches and start over. I was so disgusted that I put my tools away for the afternoon. I did take a photo though before I started work this morning.
Houses of Light

In other news, on Friday night we had a sleepover for Ashley’s birthday party. Ashley, Jessica, Sheila and Wendy came over. We painted our toenails and watched “Mama Mia!” (Most of which I missed except for the part about Colin Firth playing a gay man. I just about cried.) We ate and talked and in the end decided to go to bed at 1:30 because I knew that Eli and Liza would wake everyone up at six o’clock. It turns out sleepovers in my 30s are exactly like sleepovers in my teens. With one giant exception: I had no idea in my teens I’d spend so much time in my 30s talking about reproductive issues, poop and breastfeeding.

Lastly, New Kid Pictures!
Here’s Liza doing her new thing of dressing herself from the dressup drawer. And of course, what is the one thing you must do once you have on your backwards sideways swim top and wearing one leg warmer on your arm? DANCE!
Dance, Liza, dance!

Geof came over last week and took some photos of the kids as well. We waited until the sun was heading down and then I attempted to art direct but the kids were having none of it. The photos are still awesome anyway.
The 70s cute is among us.
Click the photo to see more of Geof’s photos.

Together, They Fight Each Other!

We have reached a magical point in rearing Eli and Liza: occasionally they go off and play together for up to an hour. It’s like how Furbys would sometimes spontaneously talk to each other, except Eli and Liza have no off switch. The two of them will come wandering through the room, each pushing a small shopping cart or baby stroller filled with random junk, or they’ll climb up on Eli’s bed and roll around and hide under pillows and fall down yelling, “TIMBAAAAAH!”

They don’t do this consistently, of course. There’s always the problem of toys and who has what. Eli and Liza have to go through their own version of the Great Compromise in divvying up toys, which I guess means Eli is Virginia in this metaphor and Liza is Delaware, so let’s move on, shall we? Eli sees Liza with a toy and decides that he has to have that toy right now Right Now RIGHT NOW! If Liza won’t let him have it, he sniffles, shoulders slumping, as he says, “She’s never going to let me have it! I’ll never see it again!”

Sometimes Eli realizes Liza wants certain toys that he’s done playing with, so he takes them, throws them in his room, and closes the door. If he could set them on fire and scatter the ashes just to deny Liza the pleasure of playing with them, he’d do it.

Sometimes Eli can con Liza. He finds another toy and applies his best used-car salesman tactics. “Liza, do you want this robot? If you want this robot you have to give me the balloon. Give me the balloon and you can have the robot!”

His negotiation tactics still need work. One time last week he told Liza, “Can I have that toy? If you don’t give it to me, I’m leaving!” Liza looked up at Eli and said, “Nope.” Eli shuffled off slowly, looking back the whole time, so Liza gave him a “how can I miss you if you won’t ever leave?” look.

They even fight over bugs. We’ve had a minor infestation of small black beetles. Liza has paroxysms of joy when she sees one. “Hiiii, bug! Hiiii! Look! He’s running! He wants to play wif me!” She’ll pick the poor beetle up, traumatizing it for the rest of its very short life. Eli naturally demands his turn. “When do I get to play with the beetle?”

I can only imagine what’ll happen when they discover cockroaches.

Soon-To-Be Trending Twitter Topics

Pirate pickup lines.

Which of Jon and Kate’s octuplets you’d like to be.

That one YouTube video that is unbelievably cute.

Tinted avatars as political activism.

Movie titles that are unintentionally creepy when muttered by Christopher Walken.

Robot sexual positions.

The YouTube video involving Keyboard Cat playing off that one unbelievably cute YouTube video.

Things that, when eaten, pass through the digestive system unchanged.

How Twitter is dying, nuh-uh is not, is too.

Any other suggestions?

Me Versus the Big Daddy

This is a Big Daddy, from the game Bioshock.

A picture of a Big Daddy and a Little Sister from Bioshock.

He protects the Little Sisters — mutated girls who have a certain resource you need in the game. You can see one to the right of him.

And here’s what it looks like when I try to fight him! Caution: this video contains scenes of violence, gore, and piss-poor gameplay.

I don’t know who bonzot, creator of the video, is, but my heart goes out to him. I, too, suck at dispatching Big Daddies.

Ribby the Frog

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about any scary kids’ toys. I don’t know if that’s because Eli and Liza’s toys have gotten less scary or because I’ve grown desensitized to them. If it’s the latter, then I’ve finally found a toy to shock me out of my complacency.

Meet Ribby the frog.

Ribby the tiny toy frog

Ribby doesn’t look too bad. He’s a cute purple color, with a sweet smile and —

Ribby's eyes bulge out when you push him!

Aaah! Make it stop!

Tom Deutch is Pretty Sure Everything’s Okay

The White House has unveiled their proposed revamp of financial regulations. One of the changes would require banks and other companies that offer loans to keep 5% of that loan on their books. See, one of the causes of the current financial mess was banks offering loans to anyone, knowing they could turn those mortgages into asset-backed securities and sell them off. This securitization (which I’ve previously covered) let banks and mortgage lenders take the commission and pass the risk onto others. The theory is that people will be more cautious if they can’t dump an entire loan. If it’s their money, they’ll be more careful.

Tom Deutsch, who’s one of the directors at the American Securitization Forum, is having none of it.

Deutsch says retaining more risk would require lenders to have more cash on hand to cover losses on loans. That could make it harder for banks to lend money, he says. And Deutsch doesn’t think the reform is necessary. He says mortgage lenders’ inherent interest in their own reputations already gives them enough skin in the game.

“Hundreds of mortgage originators have gone out of business because they sold bad products to investors who wouldn’t buy their product again,” Deutsch says.

This is an interesting view of the world, one in which the securitization industry’s role in the recession is the equivalent of your aged incontinent dog accidentally widdling on your new carpet. He can’t help it, and he does feel bad about it! Besides, we all know people act in their best interests all the time!

Waiting for mortgage lenders to go bankrupt if they make bad loans is like waiting for drunk drivers to crash and die — it may eventually happen, but in the meantime they’re liable to do a lot of damage. Securitization let mortgage lenders shovel bad loans out the back door as fast as they were coming in the front, delaying their day of reckoning until it took the whole economy down. It rewarded mortgage lenders not for making smart loans, but for making lots of loans that they could turn around and sell quickly.

It’s nice that Tom Deutch doesn’t see a problem with how things went. But if he’s not willing to cut back on the booze, he shouldn’t be surprised when others are far more skeptical of his and his colleagues’ driving.