Friday, 19 December 2008

The Duggars Hate Their Daughters

Consider the evidence:
  • Until very recently, the girls always looked like prairie muffins in their homemade potato sack dresses while the boys were allowed more mainstream clothes like polo shirts and khaki pants.
  • Each girl has the work of two or three small "buddies" while oldest son Josh had one buddy, adolescent Joseph, and John-David has one buddy: adolescent Josiah.
  • The girl jurisdictions include cooking for twenty people, doing laundry for twenty people, and cleaning toilets used by twenty people. Boy jurisdictions include changing the car's oil and mowing the lawn, because someone changing oil every 3 to 6 months and mowing the lawn every fortnight is equivalent to cooking and cleaning for 20 people every single day of your life.
  • Their sons get fairly normal names like Josh, John, Jason, Justin, Joseph, etc. The girls get horrible names like Jessa, Jinger,Jana and Joy-Anna and Johannah (they're practically the same name, people!), and newest victim: Jordyn-Grace Makiya. Yes, the Duggar's have welcomed baby number 18. At least they are trying out a new style for the girls' names. They have already done stupid and redundant, now they are going for stripperesque. Good luck with that, little Duggarette.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Yankie, Yankie, Yankie, Oy! Oy! OY!

Citizens of Australia react to an Obama victory: (click to enlarge)

And the daily Leunig cartoon that so often captures the feelings of despair and hopelessness, expresses uncomplicated joy:

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

President Obama

Wow. It's been called for Obama even before the even before California has been counted.


I'm so thrilled for Americans, that they will have such a smart, competent leader. A leader who will try diplomacy before aggression, and will place the needs of the poor above the wants of the rich. I love that American children will grow up with a black president, and possibly never understand how long coming this was.

My live TV coverage is saying that "it's a bad day for terrorism because Obama will be respected and beloved around the world. It was easy to hate Bush, but it will be much harder to paint Obama as some kind of infidel"

(Yay, Obama is about to make his victory speech. My news coverage is padding it by showing celebrations in Kenya.)

On a selfish note, I am just so thrilled that I can fall in love with America again. My parents moved me to Australia when I was three. Growing up, I never really felt Australian and thought much of Australian culture was cringe-worthy. I hated the sunburn and the flies and the sweat. My parents tried to convince me of how lucky I was to grow up in Australia by telling me how horrible England was, all grey skies and gloom. This didn't make Australia appealing, but it made England unappealing. Instead I looked to America. America was endless roadtrip country, endless Summer. America was Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Bob Dylan. America was a white Christmas and a pot luck dinner, and big breasted African American women calling people "honey child".

(Aww McCain is conceding. He's showing a little class by not allowing his crowd to boo Obama. Too little, too late. Go visit the Daily Show a few times and let me respect you again.)

(Okay, it's not a bad speech. Palin looks like she is crying. *snerk*)

As I got older I became to see America as something completely different. A country where the amount of flags waved and guns owned seemed inversely proportional to the compassion shown for the sick, the poor, and the needy. A country that was constantly declaring itself the best country in the world nevermind the fact that many of its citizens knew nothing of the world therefore had no real true point of comparison. A country where healthcare and education were for the rich, and the poor were told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. A country where the personhood of a woman was diminished by equating her value to a cluster of cells inside her womb.

America was a scary, fanatical country that made damn good movies. For eight years I looked at America and thought, damn, we don't have it so bad. Yes, we have a conservative Prime Minister, but it could be so much worse.

Today I look to America and think, damn I wish I had a leader as awe-inspiring.

Welcome back to the global community, America.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Sims 2: The Bloodening

Sims is getting a little boring. Giving my sims twelve children used to be a challenge, but not anymore. Giving them less opportunity for promotion so that they were stuck supporting those twelve kids on $420 a day is no longer a challenge. Random deaths by lightning, ghost, or carnivorous cow plant are amusing, but not frequent enough to really spice up the game.

It kind of makes me long for the days of Sim City, where disaster mode left your city in ruins whenever you thought you were on top of things.

So I've decided to play my sims on the edge, with my nifty jar of disaster lucky dips. So far these include:
Union strikes: Everyone quits their jobs and have to start from the bottom of the career ladder.
Recession: All savings are halved ( I use Monique's computer so my sims can have savings accounts)
Nuclear Winter: Winter all year-round for one sim year.
SimWorldWar: 1 in 2 sim male teens and adults die (selected randomly)
Handmaid's Tale Dystopia: Birth control banned. Using Autonomous Casual Romance I set all females' fertility to static and try for baby to always. Pretty similar to how I play now, but this would prevent me from taking morning after pills when household funds are low.
Hurricane: Demolish house and sell all fixtures. Rebuild house/buy back fixtures at a loss.
Global Warming: Change ground to sand and/or dirt. Remove all ponds, swimming pools, trees and plants.
Military Dictatorship: All sims transfer all savings and all but 1K of cash to the sim at the highest position of the military career track (these transfers can be done via Monique's computer).
Military Defeat: All sims in military career track die.
President Palin: All sims in medicine career track (abortionists), entertainment and dance career tracks (sodomites) and science and natural science career tracks (dinosaur liars) are killed.
Hippie Rule: No try for baby, no jobs, no marriage. Gotta make your own clothes and grow your own food.
Fundie Rule: Homeschooling only (Use Simlogical's flexi school hack), all girls married as soon as they get their first period, no jobs for women. Prairie muffin dresses for women and side-parted hair for men.
Plague: Two thirds of sim families (selected randomly) have a sim infected with the flu (selected randomly). Play it out, see if you can save them. Easy usually, unless you have the real sickness mod (which I can't find by googling, but have uploaded the file here)

Whee, this should be fun! I'm off to my first disaster!

Friday, 26 September 2008

It's a Duggar Wedding Craptacular!

It's Josh Duggar's wedding day!

Gee, it seems like just yesterday he was talking about finding a life partner and becoming a lawyer. Now look at him! He's getting married and working at a used car dealership! *sniff* They grow up so fast, and before you know it they have children in the double digits and are buying their first family bus.

In honour of this happy, happy day, I am thrilled to bring you a preview of the festivities:

Anna's wedding dress:


The wedding cake:

The page boy:
Those Duggars, so generous. They know a wedding is a perfect opportunity to bring in the lost souls of the cameramen who will be filming for the Discovery Channel. Just make sure little J'Duggar doesn't block the shot of the happy couple sharing their first hand holding.

My gift to them:

Wedding night jitters? Worried about fullfilling your wifely duty while also remaining modest? Choose Fundie Undies! The only underwear that allows you to sanctify your union without uncovering your shame cave or having to see his god stick.

Bonus special preview, this time next year:

J'Double J'Wedding!
In an extra special sweeps episode of Survivor:Uterus (The All-Star, All-Duggar edition), how will the Duggars plan for the double wedding of twins Jana and John-David to their respective beloveds while also managing heavily pregnant Michelle and Anna Duggar? Will the twins make it down the aisle before the Matron of Honour and
the mother of the bride and groom go into labour? And can they keep John David and his intended apart before she works out he is a little bit 'special'? Whatever happens, you can guarantee there will be fun, laughter and ankle-length skirts for all concerned.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Slutty Sims: The Only Little Whorehouse in Town

I haven't posted about my sims in quite awhile, although I have been playing them (I'm always playing them). Some time ago I started a brand new neighbourhood, North Haverbrook. I created 8 unrelated sims. I randomised their age, gender and aspiration (How? Through dice and lists and coin flips). I was left with 2 elders, one man and one woman. 2 adults, one man and one woman. 2 teens, both girls. One child and one toddler, both boys. I gave each sim $5000, grouped them into households and moved them in. North Haverbrook had a simple, yet complex, goal: to develop a sim economy in which money is finite. No more pennies from heaven, such as how the game allows life insurance to be paid out upon an elder's death, or children to bring home wads of cash from school as presents from anonymous relatives. No town with 17 mayors, all being paid huge salaries and bonuses but with no sims ever paying any taxes to support them. it just wasn't realistic. Money has to have a source, and for one person to become rich, another has to be poor. Sof or North Haverbrook, sims could only sell things or perform services to other sims. The only way the economy could grow would be to sell to townies (foreign investment) and I turned off townie respawning so once the initial townies died off that well would be dry.

Norma Turner, the old woman, took on the two little boys, Jonathan Stewart and Stephen Colbert. She fished from a pond in her garden and started a successful fish market from her front room.

Hal Albertson, the old man, lived with the two teen girls. They grew and sold vegetables, and Hal was the town repairman.

The two adults married and started a furniture store.

With Norma too old to breed, it was up to the other 7 to populate their town. Townie interbreeding was not allowed, so all women had to have at least one child by each male in order to provide some genetic diversity. This was very successful, and I have now played this neighbourhood to the point where all town founders have died and their grandchildren are running successful businesses. Even though I had 2 blondes and a redhead in my founding group of 8, the overwhelming majority of my North Haverbresians had black hair. I had a small handful of redheads and a lone blonde. I married off my blonde, Ava Stewart, with a blackhaired Liam Colbert, who I knew was likely to carry both blonde and red genes.

They had 13 children, including 4 sets of twins.

I barely remember all 13 names. I think it is: Trent, Beth, Lorraine, Maya, Dylan and Gage (twins), Zachary and Freya (twins), Lola, Hugo and Isadora (twins), and Samara and Chloe (twins). This picture definately shows Liam and Ava with Beth (redheaded teen), Lorraine (black haired teen), Dylan and Gage (redheaded twins), and Lola (my lone blondie). I'm guessing that the baby is either Samara or Chloe.

Not long after the youngest two were born, Ava grew up into an elder. You would think 13 children would be mission accomplished, right? Wrong. Right after she had aged, Liam rolled the want to have another baby.
Sorry Ava, your 13 efforts just weren't enough.

Being that I am evil and love naming things, I decided to satisfy Liam's craving for more offspring. All the other sims in town were already paired off so I didn't have a fertile young thing on hand, so I did the next best thing. I allowed inbreeding. It's easy to do if you know how. Insim allows you to sever family tree links so they don't recognise each other as family. It's like getting them really drunk and putting on a Barry White CD. As anticipated, Liam impregnated a couple of his teen daughter. What wasn't anticipated was that other Colbert daughters were impregnated by their brothers, and then they seemed to be invited over neighbourhood men and getting pregnant with their children also. It was like they had been give a cocktail of sim fertility drugs, sim viagra, and sim spanish fly. By the time Liam died, he had an extra three children, but he also had 14 grandchildren.

Lola, my sweet little blonde (seriously, 13 children, 3 children/grandchildren, and 14 grandchildren and only one blonde?), was impregnated by her brother Hugo and had a little redhead daughter, Sarah.

(This post was in draft form for two years and I no longer even remember these sims. Posting it unfinished anyway!)

Monday, 4 August 2008

A Very Duggar Engagement

An anonymous poster responded to my entry about Josh Duggar's alleged 'sin in the camp' with a delightful link to a wedding registry for Joshie and his captive, uh, happy bride.
They have registered at Wallmart for the traditional gifts of towels, bakeware, and beef jerky.
They also have registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond, requesting some tic tacs to take the edge off their jerky breath for the big wedding night.

Wedding registries have always rubbed me the wrong way (they're just so 'gimme gimme gimme!') but it grates even more when it's a Duggar. These people are so cheap, what are the chances that they have ever bought somebody a $300 vacuum cleaner as a wedding gift? It reminds me of these fundies with their "we're virgins! buy us a house!" schtick (Yep, 'third daughter' of modestapparelchristianclothinglydiaofpurple got married!).

The wedding is set for September 26th. Mark it on your calenders as the day Joshie explores the shame cave.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Just another reason to be glad I am not American... addition to the whole 'worrying about getting sick and ending up bankrupt' thing.

Bush wants all recipients of federal funding to agree not to refuse to hire medical professionals who object to abortion and birth control.

So that pharmacist who refuses to, you know, do his job and fill your prescription for emergency birth control? Can't be fired! Can't be sanctioned in any way!

What next?
Teachers who refuse to teach mathematics because they don't like all those icky numbers?
Dentists who refuse to pull teeth because they find halitosis offensive?
A Catholic kid working at McDonalds refuses to serve Big Macs on Fridays?
A Buddhist who enlists in the army refuses to fire on the enemy?

January 20 can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Pythons, Possums, and Pooches.

My client (a Dame Edna impersonator- a woman impersonating a man who impersonates a woman) told me an interesting story about a friend of hers down at the lawn bowls club. Apparently this lady had a large pet python and allowed it free roam of her house. It keep the mice away and liked to curl up in the sun on her bed. A few months ago it stopped eating, but she wasn't overly concerned. Then it began lying down beside the length of her body in bed, and she was worried that it was having problems staying warm and that it was very ill. She took it to her vet who specialised in reptiles, and explained her concerns. The vet told her straight away that the python had to be euthanised.
It turns out the snake was planning on eating her.
It was fasting so that it could make room for a large meal, and it was stretching alongside her to measure her.
I get a chill down my spine just thinking about this, but it sounds like an urban legend.

(Aha- Just checked It is an urban legend . My client is a very sincere person so I think someone misled her rather than she tried to mislead me.)

For about 9 days we could hear a persistent scratching coming from the wall behind the kitchen sink. For the past 3 days it has been silent. I tend to think it was the possum that was frolicking in the roof each night, and had fallen into the wall cavity and became stuck. I would like to think that it freed itself and has scarpered off to someone else's roof, but I suspect there will be a god-awful smell in a few days.
It could be worse: it could be Summer.

Cute war:

An American possum (left) versus an Australian possum (right)
No contest, right?

Incidentally, a friend of mine works in wildlife research and undertook a observational study of Brushtail possums (right pic). She recorded a type of social behaviour that had never before been documented in Australian possums. It is a facial expression the possums make when reunited with family members- an opened mouth expression Sarah dubbed the "Cheezel grin". I'm not sure if she officially called it that in her thesis, but I sure hope so.

Chloe, my 12 and a half year old Labrador is starting to lose control of her bowels. She has had quite a few accidents inside over the past week, and sometimes on walks she is leaving a trail behind her as she trots along and she doesn't even seem to realise. I'm hoping that it might be some deliberate action on her part due to laziness and reticence to go outside in our current wet weather, but this doesn't bode well for her. Yesterday she had faeces all down her back legs and she had to be cleaned off with baby wipes. It took me back to when I worked in the boarding kennels and I had to clean up geriatric dogs in that same state and I would think to myself how cruel the owners were to make the dogs keep going with no joy or dignity left.
Chloe is my first pet to ever make it to her twilight years and I had no idea how hard it would be to make that decision. I keep wishing she will pass away gently in her sleep, and if I am wishing that then it is probably due time.

I feel for Harry. He went from a home with his siblings and mother to a home with Chloe and he's never been the only dog. They don't play together much (although it is very sweet to see Chloe try to play with him even though she is hobbling along) but he just dotes on her. If I walk him alone he always races to get home, and starts running to every room in the house until he finds her. I've seen him spend half an hour just lying beside Chloe licking her face. He frets without her.
While there are plans to breed from Harry eventually, the more work Chloe becomes the less likely my parents are to buy a second dog once Chloe passes away. Harry was difficult to housebreak, and we only had a few months of respite between Harry having accidents and Chloe deteriorating to the point of having accidents. It is becoming more likely that Harry will be an only dog and will be rented out to service other peoples' dogs (he's already been pimped out for his maiden voyage with another chocolate lab in about a year's time).
To end on a happier note, Harry is having a first birthday reunion this weekend with his dad Kernow, his mother Baci, his brother Gus and his sisters Marley, Zali, Bella, and the other one (forgot her name).

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Happy Birthday Harry Plopper!

From this...


... to this! All in one year.

Happy birthday Harry!
It's hard to believe that it was only a year ago you arrived via C section, and just two weeks after that when I met and held you for the first time.

You were such a cute little bugger, what happened?

(Man I need to get a new camera...or improve my photographic skills)

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Tales from the referral log

A few people have navigated to my blog after googling "Duggar sin in the camp". For those that follow the saga of the Duggars they will be aware of a much-repeated anecdote of an interview with Jimbob Duggar after he lost his bid for the senate. Apparently, Jimbob was asked as to what he attributed the loss, at which point he glanced at oldest son Joshua (then about 14 years old) and replied 'sin in the camp'. I am not sure if this was a written article or a video, and I have never seen it myself so I can't vouch for its accuracy or whether it simply an internet meme (purple monkey dishwasher). However, enough people believe this interview actually took place and speculate about the nature of the sin.

Some speculate that Joshua was caught masturbating, or looking at pornography (after all, he has his own media room and seems to love computers. It is feasible he could find a way around their internet filter.) Another theory floating around is that Joshua was betrothed to a daughter of a family friend, Jim Holt (also a Gothardite politician). The story goes that this betrothal was broken off after Josh was caught touching a girl as she slept (some stories have it that this girl was a family friend, others tell it was one of his own sisters). Many point to this posting for supposed insider confirmation (scroll down to April 04). This forum posting might be what sparked the whole rumour as it slowly spread to other forums discussing the Duggar family.

It is rumoured now that Joshua (now 20) will announce his engagement on upcoming Duggar television specials. Some have speculated that he is again bethrothed to the Holt girl. Time will tell.

If I was googling for porn it would have made sense

I think I would rather have a virus myself than have a computer virus. There are few things in my life more frustrating than computer viruses. I tend to get a bad one every year or so, and each time I curse myself for not backing up my system and I wonder what files I would be losing if I have to reformat (family photos? eTax records? my year-long action research project?), before beginning the arduous process of scanning, googling, printing off removal instructions so that I can do things in safe mode, rebooting, rebooting, rebooting.

On Thursday I was googling "Viggo Mortensen Lore of the Rings" trying to locate some photography that Mr Mortensen took during the production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The collection was called Lore of the Rings as far as I could recall, but I wasn't sure if it was ever released as a book or if was just a magazine article. (Aha, after some more googling it seems that the collection of images were from his book SignLanguage, and perhaps 'Lore of the Rings' was an article about said book. Or maybe my mind conjured the memory out of nothing). (AHA! Found it! 'Lore of the Rings' was the title of an article from Flaunt magazine)

This was the image I was searching for, that had stuck in my brain for six years:
Eerie. I love it.

But in searching for it earlier this week I stumbled acorss dead links and expired domains. As usual, I had teatimer switched on. All of a sudden 10 registry change boxes appear, and I deny each one. My browser shuts down, my desktop disappears, my tool bar, my start bar, my task manager all disabled. All I have is a blue screen and some black command prompt boxes.

I reboot in safe mode and am able to get into windows explorer. I scan with spybot and find myself infected with over 2 dozen viruses, from smitfraud to zlob to virtumonde. Spybot is able to get rid of a few, I use SmitFraudFix to rid myself of a couple more, and use hijackthis to clear out most of the rest. (Note: hijackthis should never be used without caution. I know a little about what I am doing but what I do is still mostly trial and error. One of these days one of my errors might just destabilise my whole system. If you find yourself with viruses that you can't get rid of, get hijackthis, run a scan, and post you log to a support forum. They will tell you which files to delete. Proceed with caution.)

I had one problem that I couldn't get rid of: win32.tiny.abk. I googled around and found many people struggling with it but no clear answers on what to do. The only people reporting success were those who just gave in and reinstalled windows. I found a few pages of removal advice, but the directions involved deleting files that I didn't seem to have. I struggled with it for about 48 hours but I seem to have it beaten now.

What win32.tiny does is it uses your computer to mail out spam. You'll be able to tell because you internet will have slowed to a crawl. Port 25 is the email port, so disabling that is a good idea (I am still receiving email, but I haven't fully tested my ability to send email. I might have to unblock the port. I'm hoping that now that my computer is scanning clean it won't be a problem).
Gmer was very helpful, especially as the virus had disabled my registry editor. In safe mode I would start gmer, go into services and take note of any files displayed in red. I would then go to files, browse to these red entries, delete them, and then go back to services to delete the entry there. I used teatimer to block processes and registry changes, and then used the teatimer log to go into gmer to find these files for deletion. Eventually spybot was scanning clean and teatimer was not having to block anything.

Now I have learnt my lesson and am using Mozilla Firefox.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

We're all going to hell

I've gotten somewhat obsessed with the old PC game Diablo. Back in 1997 it always creeped me out to play it (I blame the eerie music), and I never got beyond level three. The storyline is fairly simple: a hero comes to a medieval village that has been left practically deserted after an evil took over the local cathedral. The archbishop had become possessed and he kidnapped the prince to appease his master. The townspeople were oblivious to his conversion, and he led them down into the catacombs under the guise of rescuing the prince, but he was leading them to their deaths. In the meantime, the king went mad with grief for his son, and started executing villagers. This story unravels slowly as you speak to the half-dozen remaining villagers, and venture into the dungeons below the cathedral. The graphics are very basic, but it's very dark and you usually cannot see what is in a room until you enter it. Combine that with the atmospheric music and the occasional sound effects of distant screaming and maniacal laughter and it makes for one creepy game.

I've made it past the Cathedral levels (1-4), and gone deeper down in the Catacombs (5-8) and am now on the first level of the Caves (9-12). Just four more levels until I reach hell itself and face Diablo! (13-16).
I've been reading the comments on this news article about rate rises with some interest. On one hand, I feel badly for people who are in danger of losing their homes, people having to choose between food and electricity, people having to slave away at overtime and not spending time with their families, and people who are facing the reality of no longer being able to afford a family. It sucks, there is no denying that. There are a lot of unhappy people out there right now.

On the other hand, these are the people who rode the boom of the last decade. Getting bigger houses and bigger cars, working up credit card debt and going on overseas holidays. Now the tide is turning and they accuse the government and the reserve bank of being discompassionate. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about how macroeconomics work. Is it just me, or do a lot of Australians seem kind of dumb?

"Interest rates dont help
I dont see how lifting interest rates can help inflation. It can help, but its not the answer. They need to look at other ways to combat inflation. High interest rates only hurt the people who can least afford it."

Lifting interest rates is the way to lower inflation. If it doesn't work, that means we are in stagflation and we are all screwed. So I think the RBA have just got to keep rising them and praying it starts to work, because that's the only thing we've got. There is no plan B.

"Rate rises
The RBA needs to look at who is doing all this spending, it certainly isn't us homeowners who are struggling to make ends meet with mortgage payments increasing, petrol prices skyrocketing and general grocery bills getting higher. I say lets look at the younger generation who are still living at home spending up big on mobile phones, ipods and ridiculous amounts of money being spent on downloading music and ringtones. I wish I had money to throw around on ringtones......raising interest rates is not the answer, you need to hit the pockets hard of those who are actually spending the money!"

Those damn recession-inducing ringtones! I knew that $4.99 per message was going to land us all in hot water! As for downloading music: that costs money? That's news to this young person. God bless you, interwebs, with your free exchange of other people's creations.
It is interesting though that so many of the posters don't seem to classify buying homes as spending. People getting a loan of $450K for a 3 bedroom house is not spending for the purpose of fuelling inflation, but some hipster kid spending $5 for a Death Cab for Cutie ringtone is.

"Interest Rates Increase Inflation not decrease it.
This is pure greed not inflation. Do those 'wealthy' reserve bank board members not have enough already. They are greedy people. All they want is MORE. More of YOUR homes, so THEY and their greedy mates get Greedier and Greedier, by canabalising on the vulnerable. The interest rate rises are passed on in the form of HIGHER prices. That is inflationary, not battlers trying to feed their families and aiming for the Great Australian Dream..............oh, these greedy people have now made the dream a nightmare....Id rather rent and spend on all the good things."



I think this person is a little confused about what the RBA actually does.

Natural economic cycles aside, I do think we are all heading for bad times. Fuel is just going to keep going up, and no one seems to be calling for alternative fuels, they are just whinging to the government to take off 4 cents a litre in tax. I read an article some years ago predicting that the energy crisis of the near future would result in small communities centred around railway lines, with agriculture nearby. We would all eat local and seasonal foods, because transporting fruit and vegetables halfway around the world would no longer be feasible. Everything would be locally produced, no more factories in China. Things would cost more, people would own less. All those sprawling suburbs would fall into disrepair. People would raid them for the copper wiring and the rest would be left to crumble.

Seems a little bleak, right?

I don't think it has to be that way. If governments could force the oil companies to release the patents for those efficient electric cars that they buried years ago, we could start changing over. We could have wind farms to provide the electricity and life as we know it may survive. That's not to say we don't need to change. Shipping pears from Argentina is just stupid, and paying China to have children produce cheap trinkets with a by-product of mass pollution should be criminal.

Right now I should be working on my digital portfolio. I have an appointment with my course convenor tomorrow to check that I am on-track with it. What have I done? Zilch. Zippo. Nada.

And yet I am not concerned. I have this terrible over-confidance when it comes to getting things done. I never hand things in late so I just assume that come this weekend everything would have been completed and handed in and I can get on with my post-semester slacking (only slightly different to my mid-semester slacking in that I am procrastinating doing things like laundry and vacuuming my car as opposed to procrastinated essay and reports). I am trying to remind myself that I still have three big things to do this week:

  1. Digital portfolio
  2. Action research proposal
  3. Collect and organise all forms for submission to the practicum office.

So I better get cracking.
Or I could try to get to level 10 on Diablo!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Quiverfull Sims: A Very Duggar Follow-up

I had intended to give the sim!Duggars a realistic 18 children, but fate (and ACR) intervened and the LORD opened Michell's womb once again and two children of the LORD were born. Jimmy Legs and Jinger (yes I know Jinger is a legitimate Duggar name, but you can't get much funnier than that. I think when Jinger grows up she can birth a quiver of misspelled spices.)

And the LORD did rejoice.

In the meantime, the older Duggar offspring were coming of age and going out into the (immediate) world on their own.

Jigolo Duggar

Jigolo got a job in the politics career track, so he could carry on Jimbob's work of outlawing telescopes, weather balloons, and all other scientific equipment. He purchased a tiny little house, which is all he could afford on the $6000 he moved out with (his portion of the television special money received for the births of #15, #16, #17, #18, and #19 and #20). He set about finding himself a repository for his manly seed, but encountered a problem: all the women in Zoidberg were already married. Jigolo was forced to lower his standards of morality and virtue, and precure himself another man's wife. He met Dominique Kelso, who wore midriff baring tops, had a career in law enforcement and had a husband and three children.

Jigolo bested Dominique's husband William in a bout of fisty-cuffs.

It had the desired effect and Dominique sent William packing. Dominique got custody of their daughter Amelia, while William kept Billy and Trinity.

Amelia didn't take the news well. Aww.

Life went on, and Jigolo turned his attention towards advancing his career so that they could buy wallpaper, and expanding his Quiver with Dominique. Unfortunately, Dominique was nearing the end of her fertile years and the LORD was not blessing them with children (I guess He doesn't give His gifts to adulterers and career women).
Eventually Jigolo had provided his family with wallpaper and a telephone, and the LORD rewarded him for his hard work. Soon the family were blessed with a baby: Mary Duggar. Dominique had virtually no chance of conceiving again, so Jigolo decided to maximise his Quiver by moving in Dominique's ex-husband and two children. This had the bonus effect of gaining control of William's substantial fortunes.

Jorja Duggar

Joey Joe Joe Duggar

Juno Duggar

Joker Duggar

Joker changed his name to Toker, purchased a pimpy leisure suit, got a small house, a job in the slacker career track, and promptly died.

Oh well, plenty more where he came from. On to the next Duggarspawn.

Jam Sandwich Duggar
Jam Sandwich changed her name to Kate

Joystick Duggar

(Another sim post that was left unfinished for 2 years. I guess I didn't have time to put in the photos so I left it for another day that never came. Oh well, publishing anyway!)

Sunday, 11 May 2008

We're gonna need a bigger quiver

So did you hear? The Duggars are expecting their 18th little arrow!
In honour of this occasion, I decided to try for a bloated quiver of my own. No, I didn't go out and get myself knocked up (in fact the mere thought of Mrs. Duggar's poor overworked uterus makes me instinctively cross my legs), I did what I always do: create a new sim family!

Meet Jimbob and Michelle Duggar. The newlyweds purchase a block of land and build a simple home. They don't yet have a large brood of children so they have no significant income, so they can't afford any luxuries, like comfy sofas, curtains, or floor coverings.

But they are pious people, and each night Michelle receives Jimbob's Godstick into her shame cave and accepts his righteous seed, and soon the children start coming.
Four children so far (Jigolo, Jorja, Joey Joe Joe, and Juno) and one on the way. Hang in there Michelle: you just need to birth eight or nine and then the oldest can raise the youngest! Note that their bank balance is $4 and they only have one crib.

Prematurely, the girls seem to be born with bags under their eyes. They haven't even been buddied up or assigned jurisdictions yet.

Come now Jorja, Joker, Joey Joe Joe and Jigolo, Mama and Daddy are busy doing God's work.
Jigolo chats with a passing neighbour girl. With a nice biblical name like Naomi he expected her to be the type of girl he might bring home to his parents, but then she had to go mention the evil that is television. Jimbob looks on disapprovingly. (Later when I wasn't looking Jigolo and Naomi woohooed in his parents' bed. Naomi, though only 14, is married with a baby daughter. Sin in the camp!)

The children keep coming, and soon Jimbob and Michelle are 14 children and pregnant again! With the birth of number fifteen, Joyless Childhood, they hit payday and receive $50 000 in charitable donations and media appearance fees. They finally can afford floorboards, windows, and most importantly: a home church.
Bible time with Daddy: the highlight of the Duggar day. Jimbob vows to storm the whitehouse to ban contraception and introduce legislation that would redefine the moment life begins as the instant you consider having sexual intercourse. Also, to smite the homosexuals.

The Duggars receive payouts for #16, #17, and #18, and they are finally able to afford a bed for each child and even some toys for the boys.
They finish up with eleven boys and seven girls: Jigolo, Jorja, Joey Joe Joe, Juno, Joker, Jam Sandwich, Joystick, Judgement, Jherkin, Jurisdiction, Juggar, Jeorge, Jilliterate, Joyless Marriage, Joyless Childhood, Jackpot, JonBenet, and J'Probably Gay.

(Yes, I know Joyless Marriage and Joyless Childhood are pretty similar, but that never stopped the Duggars. Joseph and Josiah? Joy-Anna and Johannah?)

So now I have a house of twenty sims that are all kind of ugly. Maybe I should introduce a deadly virus and have a game of Sim Survivor: Arkansas.

Friday, 2 May 2008

More than most people, even

I'm sitting on an uncomfortable old rickety desk chair in my bathrobe watching Fargo. I'm on this crappy chair because Elly May pissed all over my nice leather fullback desk chair and although it's been disinfected and aired in the sun, I still don't trust it. (Worst thing was that I was sitting in the chair at the time. Eloise was sitting on the back of the chair facing away from me, the puppy frightened her and she let loose all over my back. ) I'm in my robe because all my clothes are in the dryer, and I'm watching Fargo because you don't need a reason to watch Fargo. Darn tootin'!

Hooker: Well, the little guy was kinda funny-lookin'.
Marge Gunderson: In what way?
Hooker: I dunno, just funny-lookin'.
Marge Gunderson: Can you be any more specific?
Hooker: I couldn't really say. He wasn't circumcised.
Marge Gunderson: Was he funny lookin' apart from that?
Hooker: Yah...

Steve Buscemi: Funny Lookin'.

There has been a recurring theme at our Sunday family dinners: what to do about our old dog Chloe (and when to do it). I don't like the way things are currently being handled, with everyone just in complete denial and with my dad yelling if the subject gets brought up (I guess he's more comfortable with anger than with sadness), but when my mother asked me if I thought it was time for her to be put down I suddenly became very worried that they would act on my concerns. I think my dilemma is that I feel I am the only one in the family to see that she is in pain most of the time and so I feel I have to be her advocate, but at the same time I don't want to be responsible for making the final decision. I want the roles to be reversed, with my parents having to convince me it's time while I resent them for their heartlessness. Our family has never had a geriatric pet before. None of us are handling it well.

Little Pisspot and the old girl spending some quality time together. I think I have something in my eye. *sniff*

I got roped into doing Meals on Wheels today. All-volunteer workforce, my arse. I did get a nifty petrol voucher and got to listen to old people stories and crazy folk rants, so that's something.
You betcha'.

So there went my relaxing day. I had work in the morning, a meeting, then I was going to laze around for a few hours, maybe play a little sims, do a little lesson planning, bake some muffins for my suddenly adorable students, then head off to the school to meet with my mentor and organise my weekly planner for next week. Instead I got to my meeting and was recruited for MoW, rushed around town to stop in on aforementioned feebs and crazies, then rushed home, shoved a pikelet in my mouth, rushed over to the school, and ended up there until 7 pm.

As my final year goes on (quickly, it seems. I can't believe it's already May!) I am caught between feeling very scared of the impending job hunt and loss of the structured life that is university and feeling restless to begin the next stage. It's both exilerating and terrifying to think that this time next year I could be teaching my own class and closing escrow on my own place. But before that I have to study hard, graduate, apply for jobs, be rejected from many job applications, persevere, make a fool of myself in interviews, drown my sorrows, take constructive criticism, work on my weakness, and somehow succeed. That sounds like a lot of work, so instead I have focussed on glory boxing. Last week, table lamps. This week, who knows. Chopping boards? Draining rack? Bed?

And now for something completely different: two sims gossiping about a mutual friend. Watch the hand movements. They totally make the 'faygele' gesture.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Informative literature, 1948-style

One of the perks of working with the elderly is receiving the occasional gift. Depression-era folk save everything. One of my clients had kept, washed and stored away every polystyrene meat tray for the past 10 years or so. She just offloaded them on me, which is great because they are perfect thing to use for the Carrot top experiment with my class. Another gave me a lot of old sheets which I use as drop sheets when the kids do painting. About a year ago another of my clients moved into a nursing home and told me to grab whatever books caught my eye. I got some cook books and some gardening books, and two big old thick books: Good Housekeeping's Home Encyclopedia (1952) and Every Woman's Standard Medical Guide (1948).
As part of my ongoing quest to avoid all homework and other responsibilities, I have recently started browsing through them. This is one of those occasions where I wished I had a scanner so I could prove the following is actually from a text. Today, I share passages from the latter book.

CARE OF THE NEW MOTHER (Every Woman's Standard Medical Guide p. 221)
When you awaken after the baby's birth, you will see your husband and be shown your newborn baby. The delight with which you will both welcome him will far exceed your joy in anticipation of his arrival. Every day that you remain in the hosptial, you will see your baby from time to time at nursing intervals and your husband and parents will come during regular visiting hours.

When you awake?! It sounds like women didn't get any bonding time with their newborns, and the husbands were just spectators. I also don't care for them telling the expectant mothers how they will feel directly after the birth. I've never given birth, so I have no clue, but I'm sure each woman feels different. I hope that all are overcome with joy, but I'm sure for many it's scary and overwhelming and painful and you might need a little while to feel a sense of joy about it. Also- throughout the entire book a baby is referred to as a 'he'. Pet peeve!

HOW TO CARE FOR THE BABY (Every Woman's Standard Medical Guide p. 231)
6:00 AM Cup of boiled whole milk
9:00 AM Cod liver oil
9:15 AM Play and exercise
9:30 AM Bath
10:00 AM Breakfast
10:30 AM Nap out-of-doors in fresh air and sunshine

2:00 PM Dinner
2:30 PM Nap out-of-doors
5:00 PM Play time
5:45 PM Cod liver oil.
6:00 PM Supper
6:00 PMto 6:00 AM Sleep

Oh, is this such a relic of the past. My supermarket doesn't even stock whole milk. Cod liver oil? I know how great it is for you, but my father has horror stories of being force-fed cod liver and he only had to have it once a day, this poor 10 month old has to be tortured twice. And can you imagine anyone putting their baby outside to nap? Firstly, unless the mother is sitting beside that kid for the 6 hours is it meant to be outside no mother would feel safe to leave the kid outside unattended. Secondly, the whole in the ozone layer. Thirdly, why give a kid fresh air when you have air conditioning and central heating? My baby deserves an environment I can adjust down to the perfect temp. Fourthly, you can't put a kid in front of Baby Einstein for 3 hours if they are outside.

CHANGE OF LIFE (Every Woman's Standard Medical Guide p. 257)
On all fronts, the woman in menopause feels herself defeated, beaten back, unwanted. "Who wants to love a middle-aged hag like me?" is her underlying constant thought. She struggles under a burder of an accumulated sense of guilt, a sense of inadequacy, a sense of inferiority, realizing how short she is of the mark she had set for herself in her confidant youth.

Gee, she sure does after reading this.

HELPING THE OLDER MAN FIND HIS BALANCE (Every Woman's Standard Medical Guide p. 261)
Just as the husband mist be understanding of her wife's menopausal manifestations, so now the wife must be tolerant and understanding of her husband's condition. If infidelities occur, she should get him medical and psychiatric care, instead of dragging his through an unnecessary divorce. Many a home can be saved by timely medical treatment.

I had no idea there was medical treatment for being a douche.

In some instances, notably in connection with gonorrhea and syphilis, transfer of infection may occur through contract with various objects such as drinking glasses, douche tips, towels, etc.

Shit, I need to watch out for syphilis. I share my douche tips all the time.

The syphilictic child may experience a feeling of physical enertia which discourages him from outdoor play and leads to overemphasis on indoor reading and study.

This explains so much. I've had syphilis since childhood! This would have made it so much easier to get out of PE. Rather than faking cramps or a sprained ankle I could just say, "sorry, coach. I have to sit this one out- syphilis, you understand."

There are so many more good bits I'll have to go through later on. I must find a way to scan some of the pages on sex. To their credit, they devote a couple of chapter to having a fulfilling sexual life and not being embarrassed to see a gynocologist, which I didn't expect from something published in '48. The funny thing is that every image that appears in these chapters is of a mother and child, or mother and infant. I'm not expecting them to post full-colour pictures of a flaccid penis or a couple in flagrante, but if you aren't comfortable with pictures that suggest a focus on sexual intercourse, just skip pictures for that chapter, or put up the old standard of the cross-section diagram of a female reproductive system (what movie/TV show is it that described it as looking like a map of Six Flags? Hee!). They have a bit of theme of having dissociated images in unpleasant topics, like the picture of mother and daughter doing crafts together in the Diseases of the Large Bowel, Rectum, and Anus chapter.
The authors seem to have a real thing for Freud, so the How to tell your child about sex chapter will be fun. There is also a couple of chapters devoted to 'Nervous tension'. I had a quick skim through and I am sad to report I can find no mention of 'the vapors'.

One last tidbit:

IDIOT. A person born without intelligence, who remains so throughout life. Idiocy is the lowest mental state or degree. (p. 678)

Three things I have been doing lately:

  1. Watching The Soup.
  2. Searching for old Peter Combe videos on youtube. (Am I the only Australian child of the 80s who remembers him?)
  3. Playing 5 Minutes to Kill Yourself

Three things I have not been doing lately:

  1. Studying (If the three procrastination techniques listed above didn't give that away)
  2. Housework
  3. Walking the dogs (I can only assume Harry eating the couch is his revenge)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

8 non-sequential ruminations on faith

  1. When my priest first approached me about baptism and confirmation (which was three priests ago- we go through them quickly) I said I wasn't ready, and thought to myself that with my difficulty in learning things by rote I would likely be ready at about the same time that I had the Nicene Creed memorised. Today as I scrubbed the grouting in a client's shower I realised I knew the Creed by heart.
  2. I both enjoy hearing of people rebelling against a religious upbringing and turning atheist and hearing people joyfully speak of the comforts of faith.
  3. When I pray, I pray for faith.
  4. I am resentful of the suggestion that faith can be a choice. If God does not exist, faith is a sugar pill placebo and I am one of the control group that know it is just sugar. A little packet of empty calories that will not cure my headaches or clear up that fungal skin infection. But its emptyness is beside the point to the placebo group that value its role in their life and its ability to soothe their troubles. That is actually a more comforting thought to me than the idea that if God does exist he is just choosing not to give me the gifts that he gives believers. In God's family, I am the black sheep.
  5. What's so great about blind faith? If God really wanted everyone to believe he could just appear in the sky, whisper in your ear or make a cameo appearance in next Tuesday's dream. Why does he want to play hard to get?
  6. Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I have always loved the simplicity of that, and it is this passage that has given me glimpses of faith, lying awake at 2 a.m. when I can't sleep. It helps me drift off, and in the final moments when I know I am already halfway asleep I pray that I will still feel that certain when I wake in the morning. I never do.
  7. I feel closest to God when I am planting seeds in my garden. There is an old gardener's phrase: One for the birds, one for the weather and one for me. You wish your little seeds the best but know that as soon as they leave your hand and are covered in dirt many of them will fail just on the whims of nature, and while you are helping them in all the small ways you can, for the most part you are simply a spectator. I wonder if that's how God feels most of the time.
  8. Maybe I expect too much, and that my 2 a.m. glimpses of God is all that any of us get. The believers are just better at pretending than I am.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Am I the only person in the Western world who does not hate Heather Mills?

Mills/McCartney divorce case settled. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of hers. I've never been particularly interested in her to read up on all the horrible things she has supposedly said and done. On the radio today they called her "Britain's most hated woman" and almost every news article I have read is biased against her (such as this one accusing her of extorting McCartney). Let's say she was totally in it for the money, a gold digger as many articles claim. Never loved him, planned only to manipulate a grieving widower, have a child to secure the deal, then leave him and take 50% of her fortune. Not even that would deny her the right to some kind of divorce settlement. Paul knew going in to it that this is how divorces go, that by marrying her he was granting her ownership of a hefty portion of his wealth. If he didn't want to risk that on an ex-model almost half his age he should either have got a pre-nup or just lived in sin.

Australian housing affordability at all-time low. Mark my words, this is the big issue for my generation. Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about how every day that goes by is taking me further away from my dream of owning a home. Waiting and saving is no good if housing prices just keep going up. It's like running for the horizon. This article does a good job of summing up some of the issues:
Young Australian families face a much greater financial
burden from mortgage repayments on their overpriced houses than their American
counterparts. So much so, it found, that for many young Australian families
there is now no way to afford a home without having both parents working full
time and putting their children in care. In contrast, in the US, because house
prices are lower, there is far less need for both parents to work so less need
for the children to be placed in care.

So stop whinging about how Australian women should have "one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country" and start making it more affordable to settle down and have a family. I for one will not have kids if I have to work 60 hours a week just to pay the bills, and I'm sure many others feel the same. What is the point of having them if you only see them on weekends?

New Tom Cruise video leaked! Do you ever get the feeling that he actually thinks he is Maverick?
(I hope they gave Nancy Cartwright a birthday bash that was twice the size since she donates twice as much as stingy Tom Cruise)

Another bad day for the American economy. When are they going to cry uncle and officially declare it to be a recession? And how soon after will Australia follow?

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Quiverfull Sims: The Emancipation of Mary

Poor Mary Montgomery had the misfortune of being the first daughter in a family of twelve children. She was the first victim of the buddy system, as evidenced by her skill metres. Zero charisma, zero creativity, zero logic. Six cooking points, five cleaning points and one mechanical point she earned by unclogging the toilets.

So it should be of no surprise that when she came of age she automatically looked like this:

I knew one had to rebel. Daisy Dukes and a see-through mesh top!
(Behold your future, Jinger Duggar)

When Mary realised that she had the style and sophistication of a woman of the early 1980s but was stuck in a 1950s world she experienced a mental breakdown.

Mary: "I want to escape this family but I lack real world skills! I am doomed to live out my mother's life as a lobotomised helpmeet to a chauvinist"

Joshua: "Quit your whining, woman! And come here and hold this baby, this isn't my jurisdiction!"

Xavier and OfXavier were so concerned that her depression would interfere with the courtship process that they brought in a therapist scheduled an emergency meeting with their pastor.

But Satan (in league with the secular media and the anti-family manufacturers of revealing clothing) had already sown the seed of rebellion. Mary waved goodbye to her smelly buddy and boarded a cab to freedom.

The commie pinko fascist liberal government gave her a first home-owners grant of $20,000 which she used to purchase a modest house on the other side of the city.

I embraced her rebellion by giving her a hot pink mohawk and enlisting her in the army. I considered making her a lesbian but she had other ideas when a handsome young man happened to walk by her house and Mary made a beeline for him.

"They made me practice Amazing Grace on the violin until my fingers bled!"

Perhaps Brady also had endured a childhood of forced music practice, as they seemed to hit it off and went straight to the bedroom. Mary's sex ed lessons must have made an effect, as she took charge in the seduction. Look out Duggars, first it's leopard print coats, then it's leopard print sheets on which to have premarital woohoo.I had risky woohoo enabled, and Mary happened to be one of those unlucky 5%. Three days later little Damien Montgomery was born. Doesn't she look so happy in all her alternamummy glory?

I wanted Mary to enjoy her rebellion so I didn't want to send her down the familiar path of marriage and babies, but right after Damien was born she wanted to both get engaged to Brady and have another baby (also to eat a grilled cheese sandwich and to buy a shrub. I let her do all four). I didn't want to deprive her further after her horrible childhood, so I allowed them to shack up before the inevitable marriage. I considered having Brady take the Montgomery name as a last sign of defiance, but then I realised Brady's surname was Hart and I couldn't resist.

He's a doting father, albeit a little slow to change smelly diapers. I had to laugh at his cold weather outfit because it reminds me so much of Odlaw. (Did you know there is a waldo wiki? The Odlaw colouring in the first link is much closer to what I remembered. Incidentally, in Australia Waldo is called Wally. It wasn't until I was a teenager trying to find the theme tune to the cartoon that I realised that a Waldo version existed. The Australian Odlaw should really be called Yllaw.)

Damien. Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and buddy-free.

It's a girl! Her second (and last, thankyou very much) child, Melissa Joan.

Here ends my Quiverfull exploits for the time being. I implimented a one-child only policy to bring down the population and played 20 sims to a household to get through a few generations quickly until I was left with just 10 sims in the entire neighbourhood. So all of my original Quiverfull sims are dead and gone several generations ago. Even little Melissa Joan Hart has a great-grandchild now.

I downloaded some nifty religious objects so I might bring religion and babymaking back to the neighbourhood. I had initially found that site to get some Satanic and Pagan objects for my one-child only breeding houses, just to revel in the anti-Gothard nature of it all. Since playing these families I picked up a copy of Freetime which allows me not only to buy violins but also to make hideous outfits on a sewing machine! If that isn't a sign to make some Duggar sims, I don't know what is.

(Sims 3! Is it March 19 yet?)

The funkiest cartoon theme song of the early nineties: