log (2005/07/15 to 2005/07/21)

More Sims news and pictures! Ransom and Marisa are now both at the top of their professions. Ransom Zoom is a Criminal Mastermind, and gets to wear a really rad costume. Here he is in the limo on the way to work:

How Supervillains Commute

The same day (I think) Marisa was elected to the Hall of Fame (in whatever mysterious undefined sport Sims athletes play). But I can't show you what she wears to work in that job, because she hasn't been to work since her promotion:

Marisa Expecting Again

Fingers crossed to finally get a boy-child.

(Hm, kinda boring expressions on their faces there, eh? In motion they're much more animated; the pictures are just badly timed.)

In the Raptor household, Kaylynn is getting along very nicely (she came in with her Cooking, Cleaning, and Creativity skills all maxed out, so she's a real asset); although she wants to get engaged to Eleanor and that's unlikely to happen (I'm still planning to have her find a place of her own soon, so she can do Family things).

And Gina had her birthday party and grew into a fetching teenager:

Teenage Gina Raptor

I noticed that on the same Settings menu that let me make these pictures bigger and cleaner, there are also settings for rendering detail and texture resolution and stuff. They were all set quite low (by default, or perhaps because the game thinks my computer and/or video card are wimp); I set some of them up higher, and now things look really breathtakingly breathtaking.

All too easy to vanish into these little worlds and never come out!

On this Roberts dude, Reason has a readable item that also points to this summary of information and pointers to other things about him. Lots of useful reading there if you're deciding how loudly to shout at your Senators or anything.

From the referer log, we find that the impressive Cosma Shalizi has linked to our speculations about alien overlord transplants, which is highly flattering. From there I wandered here and here, which led to the hysterical Theological Engineering Exam 1, which I may well have linked to before but certainly deserves it again.

Stan is a frictionless, massless Mormon in a rest state...

(This is one of those pages where it's really hard to explain to even a very bright eleven-year-old what it is you're laughing about.)

And somewhere in there we also wandered to this entry and thence to Erasing Landauer's principle, which is very interesting stuff. (Think you know that it inevitably costs energy to erase information? Maybe not!)

Also from the referer log, a mysterious URL that might be, like, inside the Google Intranet. K00l. (Hm, is it rude for me to post that? De minimus, I think.)

And the last link from the referer log: a hysterical page on another one of those vacuous link-gathering sites that I still only dimly understand. (I've used "nofollow" in that link, on the theory that whatever it is they're doing, it smells fishy.) Some great deadpan lines, though:

I've tried my best to put together the most comprehensive outdoor fucking site on the Internet.


Kind of house:


ginger bread


out house

doll house

pee-wee's play house

And more extendedly, Kind of house:

, he said, That's not so much a house as a home. He led me upstairs and pointed out the fine large rooms, empty and recently vacated by the former owners, who we asking quite a reasonable sum for the property. And up the next flight, he said, motioning me upwards, Is a most interesting, not to say peculiar layout. I stumbled on the threshold at the foot of the stairs; I almost fell forward; it was dark. Are there no windows? I asked, but there came no answer, save the slamming of the door behind me and the sound of a key turning in the lock. For God's sake man! I cried, but all I heard was footsteps receding down the uncarpeted stairs. I stood, breathing in a strange sickly sweet smell of rot; then I heard from across the room a slithering sound, a noise which froze my blood in my veins.


Kind of house:

i would like to live in best would be a palmleaf hut on a desert island i would have only seaslugs for my food and only treeshrews for my company and i would write tiny poems on treebark and float them off into the ocean in search of a publisher of course a wifi hotspot would be nice but you cant expect everything

which speaks for itself; and finally Kind of house:

I often dream of being in wonderful, fantastical houses (or other buildings). I always expect these dreams to be harbingers of Something Important, but usually they just put me in a good mood the next day. Which is, I guess, enough.

I have the best readers...

So various of the commie pinko bleeding-heart political organizations to which I give money regularly have started to send me emergency appeals with screaming subject lines like "Help Us Save The Court!" and "Defeat Bush's Corporate Lawyer!!" and suchlike.

I don't really get it. I mean, if they really think they're going to get Bush to withdraw Roberts' name and nominate someone less ideological, they're fooling themselves; unless there's something big that I haven't seen (and that these hysterical appeals don't mention), the guy isn't a right wing loonie to speak of, and any money spent trying to get rid of him is, at least to the extent that it doesn't in fact get rid of him, going to be wasted.

(There could of course be something subtler going on along the lines of showing Bush that he's going to get a fight even about relatively sane nominees so he should watch it next time, say. Or it could just be a cynical attempt to frighten me into giving them more money. Organizations in general aren't the most ethical entities we have.)

A reader writes:

Why do John and Jean have a glowing tennis ball?

That's not actually a glowing tennis ball, that's the Thinking Cap, an aspiration reward (long story) that makes Sims learn (and teach) stuff quicker. Here for instance is Jean, getting a bit discouraged despite the Thinking Cap, in the process of teaching her youngest to talk (I think it was):

Jean with Thinking Cap

(I figure I've already got one big wide picture eating up bandwidth and messing up the layout in narrow browser windows this week; might as well have two!)

The Caps eventually wear out, but since my Sims have such happy and successful lives they can generally afford to replace them immediately.

Inevitable in retrospect: the Wikipedia entry on The Strangerhood. Talks a bit about the complex stuff that goes on behind the scenes of the moviemaking.

And speaking of Sims 2 movies, see the winners of AE's Sims 2 Student Life Contest (in collaboration with the USC School of Cinema-Television, of all things). Worth watching if you've got a nice fast connection. (See also two previous contests that I haven't looked at myself yet, and the Contests page in general.)

Podcasting update: I pointed the podcasting-client part of iTunes at the rss feed, and Lo it worked; iTunes downloaded the "episode" and played it for me. Hee hee!

I think I've now properly encoded the enclosures in the Atom feed as well (but I haven't tested that yet). For today's episode *8) I've selected a random mp3 of Janis Ian talking about her music (love Janis Ian) from her downloads page. (What, I'm supposed to host these 'podcasts' on my own server? These things can get big!)

We went out and saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at the IMAX (not "iMax") theater. It was a hoot!

Johnny Depp did a maximally-creepy job, giving us (as Steve who used to have a weblog pointed out) basically Willy Wonka as played by Michael Jackson. And the squirrels and the factory and the kids and all were pretty good. But omg, the Oompa-Loompas! Whoever thought that up (and thought of Deep Roy in particular) is a flippin' genius.

We went to Barnes and Noble afterward and bought the sountrack; the Oompa-Loompa songs don't have nearly the same impact without the dance moves, though.

Here's an article about the Oompas and the squirrels.

Just for fun I'm fiddling with "podcasting". The RSS feeds for this entry (probably) contain an "enclosure" tag, which might fool at least some podcast clients into thinking that it's a podcast in some sense.

Heh heh heh.

If you use a podcasting client, point it at one of the rss feeds (I haven't figured out how to podcast via Atom yet), and see if it does anything...

On my wondering the other day why my Sims 2 snapshots seemed so much smaller and lower-quality than some other people's, I've found the answer! It's a secret cheat-code subtly hidden within the game: there's a "settings menu" that you get to by clicking with the mouse on a certain symbol on the screen, and when you're on this "settings menu", there are little "radio buttons" (a special kind of icon-thing), and the ones craftily marked "Snapshot Size" and "Snapshot Quality" (or something misleading like that) turn out to control the snapshot size and snapshot quality.

Who would've thought, eh? (Thanks to the author of the very impressive Arenia Sims 2 weblog for answering my email on the subject without making fun of my powers of observation at all.)

So now I can take bigger and clearer pictures of my characters doing amusing things, like this one of Jane being disgusted by her parents (John and Jean) making out in the next room:


Isn't that cute? (I probably won't post them in the log at this size very often, but it's nice to have them like that as a starting point for later cropping and compression and so on.) Note the rather amazing detail: Jane was in the middle of making omlettes when she stopped to be horrified, and on the counter there behind her you can see the bowl with the eggs and so on floating in it.

All sorts of developments in my Sims 2 neighborhood. John Danvers did indeed escape Sally Raptor's charms, but wasn't so lucky with her daughter; shortly after Eleanor became an adult, she phoned up John, invited him over, seduced him (in her Mom's bed and in the hot-tub out on the lawn), and then started chatting up his pregnant wife Jean (who fortunately didn't stroll by any earlier than she did). She then said good-bye to them and started romancing the maid Kaylynn, who has now moved into the Raptor's house (and Eleanor's bed); just until she finds a place of her own. (She's Family aspiration, and probably wouldn't be very happy in the Raptor lust nest long-term.)

The Danvers' had their second child, and it was another girl (Joan). So now I'm five out of five for female children. Jane Danvers and Georgia Bendett are going steady; since Jane is Family Aspiration (like her Dad), and Georgia is Fortune (like both of her folks), I figure they'll make a good couple if the attraction carries over into adulthood.

I do sort of wish that there was some Home Gene Splicer and Artificial Insemination Lab that would let the girls have a child with both their genes (I'm sure the fan community has written one, probably the painfully-named Insimenator, but I'm nervous about fan-written ad-ons). But I shouldn't be afraid of adoption!

Isn't all that silly? Speaking of silly, the folks who do the extremely popular "Red vs Blue" series of Halo-based animations are now doing (or perhaps did in the past; I'm a year or two behind on all this) a series based on The Sims 2: the Strangerhood. Some pretty funny (if silly) stuff.

I wrote up another book.

I found a delightful picture (and a variant).

Study shows that 1/3 of studies are inaccurate!