Everything you need to know about my two daughters, expressed in a single night

My children are very, very different.


“It’s time for bed,” I say to the 5-year-old Butterfly.

“I’m not tired,” she says.

“But you will be in the morning when you need to get up,” I reply, “so now it’s time for bed.”

“Okay, Daddy,” she says.

She hops into bed, kisses me goodnight, pulls the covers over her head, and closes her eyes.  I turn off her light and shut her door.

About an hour later, I hear noises coming from her room.  I open the door just in time to spy the Butterfly hurriedly cram some chocolate (which she had been hiding in various nooks in her room) before jumping back into bed, trying (woefully unsuccessfully) to pretend to have been sleeping the whole time.


“It’s time for bed,” I say to the 9-year-old Ladybug.

“Oh no!” she cries.  “I finished my reading homework, but I forgot to do the character map for it!”

“You can finish it up tomorrow morning,” I offer, “but now it’s time for bed.”

“Okay, Daddy,”

She hops into bed, kisses me goodnight, pulls the covers over her head, and closes her eyes.  I turn off her light and shut her door.

About an hour later, I hear noises coming from her room.  I open the door to find the Ladybug at her desk busily writing a note, a completed character map next to her.  “I was going to slide this under you door,” she says glumly as she hands me the note, before crawling back into bed.

It reads:

Daddy,

I couldn’t fall asleep because I was so worried about not getting done with the character map, so I got up and finished it and went back to bed.

Then I couldn’t fall asleep because I thought that you would be disappointed if you found out that I got up after bedtime, so I am writing this apology note.

I’m sorry I got out of bed to do homework after bedtime.

Love, Ladybug


So there you have it.  Both of my daughters break the rules about bedtime, one of them to sneak candy and the other to do homework.

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Say my name

I was going through some student records to track “longitudinal progress” across the calculus sequence at Komplexify U when I cam across the following entry in an industrial engineering (the branch of engineering concerned with optimizing complex processes) student’s record:

Wait… what are you guys trying to optimize?

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On what poor, pitiful, defenseless planet has my monstrosity been unleashed?

I just found out that actress Daveigh Chase stars as both the Hawaiian troublemaker Lilo in Lilo and Stitch and the haunted TV terror Samara in The Ring.  All I know now is that the latter makes watching the former a lot creepier.

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The Bug Whisperer

Some conversions with my (not so) little bugs:


Scene: The 5-year-old Butterfly is putting on her new snow jacket, readying herself to go to the bus stop for school.

Butterfly: Dad? Guess what?

Me: What?

Butterfly: My friend Tilly has this exact same snow jacket.

Me: How do tell them apart then?

Butterfly:  Well, hers is blue.  Also, it doesn’t have the sweater thing on the inside.  Also, it doesn’t have these extra pockets.  Also, it’s old.

Me: So in what way is Tilly’s snow jacket “the exact same” as yours?

Butterfly: It has a pink zipper.


Scene: I am sitting on the living room couch, while the 8-year-old Ladybug is resting across the couch using me as a foot rest.

Ladybug: Daddy, do you remember that piggie thing with the feet?

Me: “This little piggie goes to market?”

Ladybug: Yeah.

Me: What about it?

Ladybug: [ sighs ] You haven’t played that with me in a long time.

Me: You haven’t been 1 in a long time.


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Tuesday Whosday: Opening credits edition

The opening of Doctor Who has been pretty much set in stone: an ever-improving visual of the Time Vortex and a glance of the Doctor, or the TARDIS, or both, all set to the iconic OOO-WEE-OOO WEE-OOO-OOO theme.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s fifty years of Doctor Who openings:

You just don’t mess with a classic.

…Except, of course, when you do.

Like most web-savvy Whovians, one from Leeds called Billy Hanshaw decided to make his own opening sequence, opening within the cogs of a Time Lord’s pocket watch before firing the TARDIS not through the Time Vortex by rather an infinitely spiraling clock (a bit like Clock #9 from my clock post) and ending with the Seal of Rassilon:

It turns out that  Doctor Who showrunner Stephen Moffat saw Hanshaw’s title sequence and pretty much thought it was the bee’s knee’s and the Dalek’s … knaleks, I guess?  And so with Hanshaw’s permission (and some minor tweaks) it became the Series 8 opener. Here’s a side-by-side for comparison:

So, apparently, a fan can occasionally buck with a half century of tradition it becomes and official part of Who canon. With that in mind, I present you Stephen Byrne’s opening for the Animated Adventures of Doctor Who:

Get on it, Moffat. I would watch the hell out of that show.

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Superbowled

So Superbowl XLIX (which I cannot help by pronounce as ex-licks) is over, much to my relief, partly because I dislike football in general*, but mostly because I don’t think I can make any utterly immature jokes about Tom Brady’s or Bill Belickick’s deflated balls that haven’t already been made.

Like this one, for example.

I wasn’t even particularly impressed with this year’s commercials either, Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel’s self-depricating BMW spot and Danny Trejo as a homicidal Jan Brady notwithstanding.  (We don’t have Carl’s Jr in South Dakota, so we didn’t get the to see Charlotte McKinney doing Austin-Powersy food porn.)  I did, however, enjoy the halftime show, which was apparently based on some form of Hunger Games/Yo Gabba Gabba fan fiction.

Katy Perry is either The Girl on Fire or Will Farrell from “Blades of Glory”.

“I kissed a blue-furred cat-dragon and I liked it…”

I could make an “inflated fun bag” joke here, but I’m a better person than that.

* As George Will noted, “Football combines the two worst things in American life: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”


Completely unrelated to the Superbowl by any metric other than “chronological proximity,” Texas Governor Gregg Abbot declared that this year, Groundhog Day would be declared Chris Kyle (a.k.a. the American Sniper) Day.  I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I think if Bradly Cooper sees his own shadow, then in means 6 more years of war in a desert.

“Okay snipers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your botties ‘cuz it’s coooold out there!”

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Big Hero 6: the komplexified script

Go, go, Power Rangers!

[ We open in the city of San Fransokyo, which looks exactly like the city in Blade Runner, except with more sunlight and fewer homicidal Rutger Hauers. ]

Hiro Hamada: I’m a 14-year-old Asian wunderkind who makes money in back-alley fights involving remote-controlled robots.  Also, I’m called “Hiro,” partly because it’s a particularly unsubtle hint at my role in this movie, but mostly because “Grant Imohara” was already taken.

Do you know how hard it is to get a good picture of Calvin NOT peeing on something?

Tadashi Hamada: Little brother, it’s dangerous for you to be robo-hustling!

Hiro: What’s the worst that can happen?  This is a Disney movie: our parents are already dead.

Tadashi: Well, it’s also a Marvel property, so, you know, “with great intelligence comes great responsibility” and so on.  You should instead apply to attend San Fransokyo University with me, where we pioneer new forms of technology that will improve the quality of life for everyone!

Hiro: Boring.

Tadashi: Also lasers and explosives.

Hiro: Awesome!

[ They visit Tadashi’s computer lab, where they meet his quirky science-nerd sidekicks. ]

Wasabi No-Ginger: Hello!  I work with dangerous plasma blades, and I’m called “Wasabi.”  My personality quirk is obsessive-compulsive neatness, which I manifest by screaming at every obstacle we face and running away in terror.

Hiro: I’m not sure that’s how OCD works—

Wasasbi: AHHHHHHHH! [ Runs away in terror. ]

Honey Lemon: OHAI LOL OMG!  I’m  called “Honey Lemon” and I work with dangerous chemical explosives.  My personality quirk is that I will pronounce your name by excessively rolling the letter “R.”

Hiro: Does that even count as a personality?

Honey: Absolutely, Hirrrrrrrrro.

GoGo Tomago: ‘Sup. I’m called “Gogo Tomago.”  I work with dangerous high-speed mag-lev bikes. My personality quirk is general irritability.

Hiro: Why don’t you have a food based name?

GoGo: Tamago is Japanese for egg, bitch. [ Walks off. ]

Fred: Yo dude, I’m not actually a student here, but as close to a drug-addled burnout as Disney felt comfortable including in this movie.  Also, I like comics and shiny blinky things, duuuude.

Hiro: Why do they let you just just lounge around in the middle of a lab full of  dangerous untested tech?

Fred: Because I helps keep the lab… well supplied.

Hiro: With electronics?

Fred [ Inside a haze of reefer ]: …Yeah… electronics.

“We can’t stop here. This is bot country.”

Tadashi: That’s enough with the characters Disney can’t market as plush toys.  Let’s meet the real star of the movie, my creation Baymax.

[ Tadashi presents a small red box.  From it bursts forth a giant green dragon-looking thing with fangs, claws, and spikes. ]

Baymax: Hello. I am comic-book-Baymax, your sidekick.  On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the likelihood of manufacturing little cuddly plush versions of me?

Wasabi: AHHHHHHHH! [ Runs away in terror. ]

Baymax: Oh no.  One moment please.

[ Baymax pops back into the box and re-emerges as an inflatable cross between the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and a T-800. ]

Baymax: Hello. I am Disney-Baymax, your comic relief. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the likelihood of manufacturing little cuddly plush versions of me?

Every preschooler in the audience: Awww!  I want one! I want one! I want one!

Baymax: Excellent.

The episode of The Biggest Loser where things went horribly wrong

Professor Callaghan:  Greetings.  I’m the head of this lab, the foremost expert in robotics and creator of “Callaghan’s Three Laws of Robotics” and—

Hiro: Wait, wait, wait… We’re only a half-hour into this movie and we’ve already got friendly white robots and a James Cromwell character trying to claim credit  for Asimov’s Laws of Robotics?  What is this, I, Robot?  What’s next, Alan Tudyk as a voice actor?

Alan Tudyk: Why yes!  I’m an evil capitalist!  I’ll come back later.

Professor:  Well now that you’ve met your ethnically diverse future teammates and Disney’s toy-line through 2015, what say you enroll at my university, where you’ll have access to all kinds of cutting-edge technology?  All you need to do is invent something new and beneficial for mankind.

Hiro: Why don’t I take my destructive magnetic kill-bots from the opening scene, but miniaturize and mass-produced them, allowing them to swarm and become infinitely more destructive?  I could even hook up a thought-interface rather than a hand-held remote for them, so that their full, terrifyingly destructive potential could be immediately harnessed at the slightest whim of their user.  What could possibly go wrong?

Professor: Sounds great!

[ Hiro builds a million of the deadly microbots in his garage, which really begs the question why he even needs access to the University lab in the first place.  He demonstrates their use at the local science show to the Scoobie Gang his new college friends. ]

Fred: Awesome, little dude.  But according to my issue of the Big Hero 6 comic, instead of robotic version of the Sandman from Spider-Man 3, you were supposed to invent Baymax using the memories of your recently deceased father.

Hiro: Well, in this movie, my dad died a long time ago, and Baymax is programmed with my brother’s memories, so…

Tadashi: Ah, crap.  [ Dies in a freak fire that also kills Professor Callaghan and destroys all the microbots. ]

Baymax: Hello.  I am Baymax, and I sense that you are now sad and despondent over the death of your brother.  Perhaps we could take your mind off of it by going for a relaxing walk.

[ They do, and stumble upon an abandoned warehouse.  There they discover a Kabuki-faced man who stole the microbots and killed Tadashi to cover it up. The Kabuki man then attempts to murder Hiro and Baymax with the microbots, but the escape (barely). ]

Baymax: Well, that idea sucked.

Hiro: That masked man killed my brother.  There’s only one thing to do: turn you into a giant killing machine and straight-up murder his ass.   Here, why don’t you watch this copy of The Matrix while I go fabricate a giant suit of battle armor for you in my garage.

Baymax: Whoa.  I know king fu.

This still makes more sense than The Matrix 3.

[ They attempt to assassinate the Kabuki man, but run into the nerds with the food names. Also Fred. ]

Honey: OHAI Hirrrrrrrrrrrrro, what are you doing?

Hiro: Baymax and I are on a mission to kill my brother’s killer.

GoGo: Wait, you built this battle suit yourself… in your garage?  Why do you need our university lab again?

[ The Kabuki man sees them and tries to negotiate with them by hurling shipping trailers and small vehicles at them. ]

Wasabi: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! [ Runs away in terror. ]

Zoinks!

[ The kids barely escape to Fred’s family mansion. ]

Fred [ Consults comics book ]: Let’s see… let me make sure we’ve hit all the tropes of a comic book “origin story.” Established character’s abilities and quirks: check. Killed off central character to charge team with emotional purpose: check. Next, we need to get our super-hero suits!

[ Hiro builds them color-coded battle armor. ]

Wasabi: I’ve got light sabers! [ Engages them. ] AHHHHHHHHHH! [ Runs away in terror. ]

Honey: I’ve got chemical explosives in my purse LOL!

GoGo: I’m a lightcycle from Tron: Legacy, bitch,

Fred: I’m the mascot!

Baymax: I’ve got another suit of armor based on fat-shaming comedy!

Hiro: This is really an actual Marvel superhero team?

…And I’ll form the head!

Fred: Great.  Now we need to establish the villain.  Since Alan Tudyk was the bad guy in Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph and Disney’s Frozen, it stands to reason he’s the villain is Disney’s Big Hero 6.

Hiro: Works for me.  I’ll take Baymax and fly up to one of those inexplicably weightless floating turbines and scan the entire city for his vital signs.

GoGo: Wouldn’t blasting the city with that much radiation kill everyone in San Fransokyo?

Hiro: Meh.

[ Hiccup Hiro and Toothless Baymax have a flight montage where they learn to work together as a team before eventually retiring to a spot to have some one-on-one. ]

We’re Vikings kids in a Disney movie. It’s an occupational hazard.

Baymax: My programming says killing someone is wrong.

Hiro: Wouldn’t it be better to kill one person bent on killing lots of people?

Baymax: This really is I, Robot all over again, isn’t it?

Hiro: Now dat’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

[ They trace Kabuki-man to an abandoned mine, where he’s busy salvaging a StarGate. They attack him but, being inexperienced with their super-suits, manage only to defeat themselves. ]

Kabuki-man: It is I, Professor Callaghan!  It turns out evil Alan Tudyk was trying to build a teleportation unit that would transport him to a universe in which Firefly was never cancelled, but his negligence killed my test-pilot daughter.  So for revenge, I will finish his machine and transport him to a dimension where the only thing he’s known for is TransFormers 3!

Wasabi: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! [ Runs away in terror. ]

[ They follow Kabuki-Callaghan to Alan Tudyk’s corporate office, where Callaghan has reinstalled the StarGate with the help of the microbots. The team attacks him but still manages only to defeat themselves. ]

Hiro: God, we suck at this.  We need some inspiration!

[ He gathers the team, where they watch the last forty minutes of The Avengers. ]

Fred: FRED SMASH!

[ The team attacks Kabukallagham a third time, and this time finally manages to beat him. ]

END OF LINE.

Baymax: Oh no!  The evil technology is causing a catastrophic wormhole to be generated right over the city!

Hiro: Good thing we watched The Avengers just now, right, Robo-man?

Baymax: Ah, crap. [ Flies through wormhole to sacrifice himself. ]

Baymax: Oh, look, Callaghan’s daughter isn’t dead after all.  She’s been in suspended animation in some test-footage from Pacific Rim.  Guess I’ll save her.

[ Gypsy Danger Baymax sends the unconscious Mako Mori Abigail Callaghan out of the alternate universe. ]

Today, we are cancelling the Apocalypse!

Callaghan: Hurray! It was all worth it to see my daughter once mor—

Police: Off to jail with you. [ Sends Callaghan off to prison for the attempted murder of several thousand people, where he probably dies alone and broken. ]

Hiro: Hurray! We won… even though now my parents and my brother and my robot best friend is dead.

GoGo: Dude, you single-handedly built an army of microbots, two robot battle mechs, and four human super-suits from scratch in your garage. You’re saying you can’t rebuild a walking, talking balloon? Woman up, bitch.

Hiro: You’re right, Tomago. And while I’m at it, I’ve got some ideas on how to improve Baymax, too.

[ Six months later. ]

Baymax: Hello. I’m Ultron, your death-care provider.

Hiro: Ah, crap.

Disney’s Age of Utron: coming in Summer 2015

The End

Stan Lee [ Cameos ] : ‘Bout damn time.

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(I've Had) The Spline of My Life

A student in my office was complaining about the 2015 version of SolidWorks and, in particular, about the new version’s tendency to place the origin of any 2D (or 3D) object in the lower corner, so that the entire object is contained in the First Quadrant (or Octant)… even after the user physically sets the origin someplace else.

Clearly, Patrick Swayze would not approve.

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Eeny… meeny… miny… NO.

Talking to my children.

Me: Don’t forget that mom will be out of town next week, so now is our chance to eat dinners that would be otherwise vetoed by her. Any choices?

Butterfly: Spaghetti-Os!

Ladybug: Hot dogs and beans!

Me: Beanie weenies?

Ladybug: Yeah!

Me: We could get those Little Smokey hot dogs and make teenie weenie beanie weenies.

Ladybug: Yeah!

Me: We could also mix it with Mellow Yellow and blue PowerAde to make greenie teeny weenie beanie weenies.

Ladybug: Yeah, that’s enough.

Me: Right.

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Tut, tut, tut

According to The Associated Press, the golden face mask of King Tutankhamun has been irrevocably damaged when curators of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo managed to knock off the mask’s beard.

Even worse, rather than take it back to a conservation lab for repairs, they decided to glue it back themselves on with a quick-drying epoxy. Unfortunately, they failed to set the beard back into its original place before it dried, so according to one of the museum’s conservator, “Now you can see a layer of transparent yellow” between the beard and the chin.

Even more worse, they applied the epoxy so hastily they got it all over Tut’s face too, spattering the golden mask with more transparent yellow goop.  Again, rather than take it back to a conservation lab for repairs, they decided to remove the extra epoxy… with a spatula, effectively scratching up the golden face.

So what did we learn from this?  Well, I guess we know where Chunk got a job after he left the Goon Docks.

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