This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on twitter as @abulsme.

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@abulsme tweets from 2014-09-15 (UTC)

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@abulsme tweets from 2014-09-12 (UTC)

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Eh, Don’t Worry About That!

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about:
* Obama’s ISIS Speech
* Scottish Independence
* Jony Ive / #AppleLiveFail / iPhone 6
* Apple Watch / AppleTV

Recorded on 11 Sep 2014

Length this week – 1:46:02

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 View Podcast in iTunes  View Raw XML Feed

Alex through the Years

Alex’s school had a little event for his birthday today. They do it for all the kids. They do a thing where they put down a candle to represent the sun, then cards with the months around the sun. Then the birthday kid walks around the sun while all the kids all sing a song about the days and months in the year. Each time the birthday kid gets to the month their birthday is in, they stop and the parents show a picture from that age and potentially say a little bit about that age. Afterwords, there is a snack with the birthday kid’s favorite fruit. It was a fun little time.

And it made me find a picture of Alex from each September since he was born. Which was also fun. Here are the six pictures I picked for Alex:

Alex shown off for all

2009-09-25 19:09 UTC – Approximately Age 0 – The first picture I have of Alex with his eyes wide open and paying attention.

P1030271

2010-09-12 21:04 UTC – Approximately Age 1 – Alex in his birthday hat on his first birthday

IMG_3619

2011-09-11 17:20 UTC – Approximately Age 2 – Alex and Amy in the driveway of our new house as we are moving in right as Alex turns two

IMG_8836

2012-09-03 02:06 UTC – Approximately Age 3 – Alex at a nearby park with a lake and a beach

P1040057

2013-09-13 01:56 UTC – Approximately Age 4 – Alex as he opens presents

IMG_7197

2014-09-11 21:53 UTC – Approximately Age 5 – Alex plays in a pit of flying balloons

Alex is FIVE!

At the moment this is posting… 21:42 UTC (2:42 PM Pacific, 5:42 PM Eastern) Alex is exactly five years old when you take into account the fact a year isn’t an even number of days, leap years, and all that sort of thing. So…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!

As usual for Alex milestones, a little bit ago I recorded a quick interview with Alex to get his thoughts on turning five. We did it outside this time, so apologies in advance for the bits with wind noise and where it is harder to hear him. But hey, it was a change of pace from the indoor ones. And bonus Roscoe!

OK, now, I know only a few close relatives probably bothered watching that, but that is OK, that is who it is for mainly.

So, I last posted one of these when Alex turned 4.5, and of course there was one when he turned 4.  What is different since then?

  • Alex still isn’t so sure about being older, and still plans on pretending to be a year younger than he really is (see interview above).  But he is less worried about this than a year ago.  He REALLY didn’t want to turn four.
  • He has significantly broadened his taste in in video games, both on the iPad and on the computer.  Trainz variants and Portal are probably still at the top of the stack, but he plays LOTS of different things now.  Some that are actually kid’s games, others which are clearly aimed at a much older demographic, but Alex doesn’t mind and just figures out the game anyway. He only really gets stuck when you have to READ instructions.  Then he asks me to help read it.  Then he listens VERY carefully, then remembers and applies it, and usually doesn’t need me to read whatever it was again.  He just moves on and plays the game.
  • The trend I called out six months ago for broadening taste in TV shows is also continuing.  It generally is still one or two shows at a time though.  He’ll watch and watch and watch and memorize to the point he can recite the lines along with the characters.  Then finally, after he has completely absorbed every available episode of a show, he’ll find a new show to do that with.  Although he sometimes does revisit old favorites.  One of the new ones that happened in the last six months is Transformers.  He watched Transformers Prime, and it was OK for a bit, but then there was Transformers Rescuebots, which he loved and was the primary focus for about a month.  Maybe two.
  • Speaking of which, his play with physical toys is broadening too.  Trains are of course still the number one favorite.  But cars are increasingly in favor to a degree they haven’t been in a couple of years.  Matchbox and Hotwheels cars and the playlets associated with them.  And, during the Rescuebot craze, both trains and cars began to regularly transform and would sometimes walk and talk like robots.  The occasional stuffed animal gets attention.  And he has on more than a few occasions been playing with and building things with Lego.  And of course, during the warm months, he returned to the old favorite…  the hose.  There are all kinds of fun things you can do with hoses.
  • He still likes his new school.  At least we don’t have the sort of complaints and begging to stay home like we did at the previous school.  Now, he’d still rather be at home, but he rarely protests going once it is clear that is what is going to happen, and he will sometimes share and talk about things he is doing or has learned at school.  This is MUCH better than the last place.  Montessori is working well for Alex.  We hope to keep him in Montessori programs as long as we can.  Since they are very flexible and adaptable to the child’s own pace, as long as we do that, we won’t worry too much about the fact that Alex misses the age cutoff to be in a higher grade by 12 days.  (Even though he is academically ahead, socially he is still not where his teachers would like, so not having to worry about that sort of thing is good.)
  • When we walk the dog these days, more times than not (as in the interview above) Alex is actually walking the dog himself, holding the leash and doing the guiding.  I usually only take over when there is another dog nearby, if we are walking near heavier traffic than usual, or once Alex gets tired and doesn’t want to any more.  Alex and Roscoe really are best buddies.  They have their occasional disputes, but there is clearly a strong bond there.
  • Alex still is very reluctant to ride his bike.  I usually have to bribe him, and then only get a few minutes out of him.  He doesn’t have the confidence yet.  Lately though, when I ask about riding bikes though, what he wants is for ME to ride my bike while he chases me on foot.  OK, I guess that is another way to get exercise.
  • Alex is putting himself to sleep when he gets tired!  Notice I didn’t say “to bed”.  Sleeping in his own bed in his own room is very rare.  But, when he gets tired, he will either tell one of us he is ready to go up to our bed, with us, and cuddle up to go to sleep, or he will just gather pillows, blankets, etc wherever he happens to be and curl up and go to sleep.  Now, this is often still later than maybe it should be, but bedtimes aren’t really a thing in our house for anybody.  The day is over when we are tired and want to sleep.
  • After school he will sometimes lobby for a trip to “MikelDonalds” for either a Happy Meal or a McFlurry.  Denny’s is another OK restaurant as far as he is concerned.  Anywhere else, and he’d usually rather stay home.
  • He is constantly working on his negotiating skills.  Whenever we want to do something that he doesn’t want to do, or just not the thing that he wants to do, he will present counter offers, trying to get us to move toward his position.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  But he is trying to work in his angle all the time.
  • On our iDevices, he will now bring me the device, already to the point where he has picked a new game he wants to buy and it is asking for my password.  “Buy this daddy.”  But he has tried to move beyond this.  From a Facebook post Amy based recounting something she witnessed: ‘”Daddy,” Alex says hiding the Samuel‘s iPad, “I won’t buy any levels, but will you tell me your password to buy stuff so I can remember it forever??? I promise I won’t buy any levels, but please will you tell me your password? Deal?”‘  That did not work.  He has an allowance on his own iPad though, so the plan is to make the password on that one into one he actually knows and can use whenever.  It just only has a certain amount per month allowed, so he can’t go beyond that. :-)
  • He can dress himself!  That is not to say that he DOES dress himself usually.  But he can when he wants to.  If he is lobbying to do something outside that he really wants to do for instance, and we are telling him that despite what he thinks, he needs to actually be fully clothed to do that, he will sometimes run off to his room and come back downstairs a few minutes later.  Fully dressed.  Sometimes with shoes on too.  Now, sometimes the pants or shirt are on backwards, but hey, whatever, that’s cool.  Of course, when he DOESN’T want to go out, there is none of this, and it is a fight to get him dressed, and it is a huge game to make it take as long as possible.  But hey, that’s just how it goes.
  • He still sometimes pretends to be a dog, but not as much as he used to.
  • He is getting pretty good at writing his name and drawing people.  And trains.
  • He almost knows his address.  Not quite.  But close.  He does know the street.  But he keeps insisting the house number is the passcode on his iPad.  It isn’t.
  • When we go on walks, he collects leaves for Mommy, sticks for Amy, and rocks for me.

OK, the top of my head is empty, although I am sure there are plenty of other things that could be mentioned.

In any case, once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!

@abulsme tweets from 2014-09-11 (UTC)

Electoral College poll updates from 2014-09-10 (UTC)

@abulsme tweets from 2014-09-10 (UTC)