Friday, January 5, 2024

7 Quick Takes about Thinking Ahead, Happy Gilmore, and When Artificial Intelligence is Pretty Dumb

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


We continued the kids' favorite New Years tradition, smashing the gingerbread houses we built over Christmas with a meat mallet.

They are technically graham cracker houses, but way more fun than the premade kits.

I would have taken pictures of all of them, but I didn't do it right away and the candy decorations on the other houses mysteriously disappeared over the next few days before I got around to it.

As each kid held their meat mallet aloft over their gingerbread house, I asked them "And what bad habit are you smashing for the New Year?"

My 9-year-old's answer: "Saying rude things." He immediately started yelling at his brother who snuck a candy that flew off when the meat mallet made contact.

My 7-year-old, who had the flu: "Being sick." 

"That doesn't count," I told him, "Getting sick wasn't a choice. Pick a bad habit to smash."

"Fine. Not washing my hands before dinner," he answered. Which is hilarious because earlier that day, I'd taken advantage of his nasty illness to say, "You know, if you wash your hands more often you won't spread as many germs, especially getting them in your mouth at dinnertime." I guess he was listening!

The 19-year-old, who has raging ADHD, smashed hers before I could ask. 

"Wait! What was your bad habit?" I said.

She paused for a minute, obviously racking her brain, and answered, "Uhh... not thinking ahead?"


We finished all of our Christmas experience gifts in record time (less than one week to finish all of them!) Our last one was indoor mini golfing and ice cream.

My kids did not understand this reference.

On the way there, my 17-year-old, who's knee-deep in college applications and really stressed out about it, said "I feel like I should be excited but I'm just tired... is this what it's like being an adult?"

I hate to say it, but yes it is.


On January 1st, I told all the kids to round up their bedsheets and pillowcases: it was time to wash them. (New Year, new you!) It would have been nice if I'd known that the dryer had gone out of commission before they were all mid-cycle in soapy water.

Phillip was able to fix it thanks to YouTube, but it took all day and everyone slept on bare mattresses that night.


While I was out driving with my girls, I was thinking out loud and said "When was the last time we changed the oil in this car?"

My 19-year-old piped up: "Chris V. [a church friend of ours] showed us once how to change oil at a youth activity."

"I'm sure he showed you how to check the oil," I said.

"No, he taught us to change the oil."

I raised an eyebrow. "He showed you how to jack up a car and drain the oil out?"

"Yes, and put in antifreeze."

"Wait, I'm not done talking about the oil change. Are you sure you used a car jack?"

She nodded. "Red goes to red and black goes to black."

"That's a jumper, not a jack."

"Well, whatever. I was 12 so it wasn't really relevant to me."

I stared at her, trying to decide whether to laugh or cry.

"It was basically a carjacking," she added, obviously trying to make me do both.

"When we get home," I told her, "I'm calling Chris to tell him that he wasted his time."


Did you know that Steamboat Willie is in the public domain now? I actually watched the full cartoon, which I've never seen except the first few seconds of Mickey whistling at the beginning of Disney movies.

Which makes total sense now that I've seen it in its entirety, because that's the only few seconds that is even appropriate to show in this century! The next scene cuts to some gags with chewing tobacco and the rest is mostly Mickey and Minnie running around and pestering animals for absolutely no reason. It is a totally nonsensical 7 minutes that could never be on TV today. 


Captcha codes keep getting weirder and weirder. I've seen plenty that say "click on all tiles that have bridges/stoplights/motorcycles" but this one adds an extra layer of critical thinking to figure out what you're supposed to click. I guess to make it harder for A.I. to solve.

This Captcha appeared when I was paying a doctor's visit invoice... which is weird because if a robot wants to sneak in and pay my bills, I'm actually fine with that.

Speaking of A.I., my daughter discovered that it can be really funny to ask ChatGPT misleading questions. If you ask it if the letter P is in the word "mayonnaise" it will say no, but if you ask "how many times is the letter P in the word 'mayonnaise'," it will give you a random number. For her, it said 3. She then asked it to show her where, and it just embedded 3 random letter Ps in the word "mayonnaise."


Lastly, here's me when I'm a grandma. Absolutely. 

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