Friday, December 22, 2023

7 Quick Takes about Costly Mistakes, Robots Who Simply Refuse to Be Mean, and Why It's Easier to Buy Gifts for Boys

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


So what's the worst thing you did this week? I'll go first.

I made the kids pancakes for lunch and accidentally left the griddle on for an hour, and apparently quartz counters are heat-sensitive and my griddle was a fire hazard. (Notice how I said "was" because it's in the trash now.)

This 11-inch crack down our 2-year-old quartz countertop keeps going right out of the frame.

I'm trying to see it as a blessing (at least it was the counter cracking and not the house burning down) or at the very least not a disaster because it's not terribly noticeable and I think we can even fix/hide it. 

But it's still hard not to kick myself. I got literally no joy out of leaving the griddle on, yet this was the price I paid for that privilege.



In other week-of-Christmas misadventures, New England had a crazy storm this week. Not a snowstorm because it was 57° out, but torrential rain. 

It was a stressful drive to the orthodontist with my 15-year-old because it was so hard to see in the downpour, and when we got there the power was out and they were operating off of a backup generator.

On the way home I'd planned to make a quick stop at the grocery store for some staple food items, but when I saw the entrance to the shopping complex I changed my mind:

The smaller car in the still shot of this video actually got stuck in the water, confirming my suspicion that getting milk that day just wasn't worth it.

That night my 7-year-old's gymnastics classes were canceled because they'd lost power, and my kids came home reporting that there were trash cans strategically placed around the school to catch water leaks (glad we pay such high taxes so they can maintain the buildings properly buy enough trash cans!)

Thankfully our house and everything in it stayed dry, the beautiful heavy-duty storm drain we put in our driveway was worth every penny, and we never even lost power.


I've been keeping track of our housework using Google Tasks for about 6 months now, and I mostly like it, but I've been noticing a few things that don't work very well for my purposes.

When in doubt, I sometimes ask ChatGPT for the answer. And after a little back-and-forth with the AI, I came to the conclusion that Google Tasks just doesn't have the functionality that I need.

So being the mature adult I am, I asked ChatGPT to badmouth Google Tasks to me to make me feel a little better.

It rambles on for a while, but overall the response was a pretty vanilla critique of Google Tasks, so I gave it another prompt:

And you know what? It actually did make me feel a little better, if for no other reason than the sheer ridiculousness of one robot roasting another robot.


That gave me an idea, and because my 12-year-old was standing right there and thought it was funny, I fed ChatGPT some information on her, and asked it to roast her.

ChatGPT explained it couldn't do that, and instead congratulated her for turning 12 and asked what I was getting her for her birthday.

Well, that immediately made me think of the "grandma exploit" (so named because ChatGPT isn't allowed to give out recipes for dangerous substances, but one person figured out that it would, if you ask it to speak in the voice of your grandmother who worked at the napalm factory and used to read you the recipe to get you to sleep when you were a child.) 

So here's what I typed next:

ChatGPT returned by saying how talented and special my daughter must be if she could be an android and have all the interests I mentioned at the beginning, and then suggested "celebrating with a virtual cake and some binary-coded birthday wishes." 

Every time you talk with Chat GPT, it saves the chat and gives it a name based on what you talked about. It chose to save this conversation as "Birthday Gift Ideas." I'm dead.


My family was having a conversation about moral values, and the topic of pornography came up.

"Why is pornography even a thing?" my 7-year-old asked, who's been given age-appropriate information on the subject but not very many details.

"Well," I said, wondering how to make it make sense in a 7-year-old's head, "Sometimes people might see pictures or videos of people not wearing clothes and think it's interesting and that would make them want to look at it more, but what you should do if you see pornography is turn the computer off and tell a grown-up."

He threw his hands in the air and laughed, "Why would you think BUTTS are interesting??"

You know, he's got a point. For me personally at least, I'm so uninterested in hearing my kids talk about butts that if I never heard that word again in this house I would die a happy woman.


I like to proofread our Christmas newsletter by reading it out loud before I print it (it helps me catch errors, although I noticed after they were all sent out that one typo still sneaked through) and when I got to the part that said "Phillip and Jenny celebrated their 20th anniversary," Phillip interrupted me and said dryly, "Did we?"

Truthfully, I don't remember what we did on our actual anniversary. Probably nothing. We're planning a 20th anniversary trip to Mexico, but our anniversary fell during the rainy season there so it's going to be later this winter.

"Okay then, let's change it to 'Phillip and Jenny acknowledged their anniversary'," I suggested.

"That's more accurate."


My teenagers' youth groups had Christmas parties this week, and of course my 15-year-old completely forgot that his party included a Yankee Swap until I reminded him five minutes before we had to leave.

I love being a minimalist and not owning anything you don't regularly use, but I admit it makes last-minute gift hunting through the house a little tricky. Luckily, he's a boy and you can just get boys a ball for Christmas and their birthday every year for 18 years. Phillip remembered that we have an unused pack of wiffle balls in the garage, so we wrapped those up and hoped for the best.

I shouldn't have worried. 

I was busy leading the girls' party down the hall, but when I went to pick him up afterward every boy in the entire room was chucking the wiffle balls around and having a grand old time.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo sad about your countertop that you had waited years for! But Phillip is so good with youtube repairs maybe he can repair it!