This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



Color Bird Thing

A Bird in the Head

Early on Sunday while I was in the office I heard a cry from the other room. “Sam, I need you!” I rush out. What is going on? Birds in the living room. Finches or sparrows or something.

Two had flown in through the open sliding door to our patio. We’ve been keeping it open when it is nice out and we are home. Unfortunately one of the birds had flown straight through the house and attempted to go out the other side, hitting a window full force and breaking his neck instantly.

But the second bird, seeing what had happened to his friend that he was chasing, had turned aside and was now flying around the living room. We got the dog downstairs. We put the curtains and such in front of all the remaining open windows, and started trying to help the bird find the way out. After sitting in a couple of different places he had gone to hide above a cupboard in the kitchen.

I got up on a chair to try to catch him. I almost had him, I had him mostly in my hand and was about to close around him when he flew again. In a big circle around the kitchen… then he landed on my head.

“OK, that’ll do” I said and slowly got off the chair and walked toward the back door. He just stayed there on my head. I made it to the patio with the bird still sitting on my head. Obviously a very scared little bird.

He stayed on my head about a minute. Long enough for Brandy to get her cellphone and snap a couple of pictures. Then he realized that we were outside again and flew off to a nearby tree.

I’m sorry only one made it. :-( But at least we were able to help this one a bit.

And he sat on my head!

Curmudgeon’s Corner 2007-06-17

The third Curmudgeon’s Corner of 2007 was released late yesterday. 14 minutes this time, and once again I am solo. Ivan had some sort of wedding to attend or some such. Excuses, excuses.

The title of this episode is “Responses to Listeners” as most of the episode is responding to feedback I got after last week’s episode. Topics this time:

  • Responses to Kids and Computers
  • Roaming Distance for Kids
  • More Poetry Talk

Enjoy. And as usual, I look forward to feedback from our three listeners. If you have suggestions for topics or anything else, just let me know. The last two episodes have had some similar topics. I’m looking to move on to some other things next week.

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Family Portrait

Cinema: Nancy Drew

Early today the three of us went to see Nancy Drew. It was Amy’s choice for a movie to celebrate her grades which had come in a few days earlier. She’d had a significant “dip” in her grades between 1st trimester and 2nd trimester of 6th grade. But for 3rd she had worked hard and brought the grades up considerably, even surpassing her 1st trimester grades. So we’re back on the right trend again, as long as first trimester of 7th grade is even better.

Anyway, this Nancy Drew movie is obviously based on the Nancy Drew book series which started in 1930 with “The Secret of the Old Clock” up to the 175th book in the series Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland published in 2003. I must admit to not having read any of the books in this series, although of course Nancy is an iconic character who I’ve heard about since childhood.

Bottom line, I liked the movie. It was a lot of fun. It was set in present day, but with a Nancy Drew who dressed and behaved in stereotypical 1950’s ways (um, but with a laptop and iPod) and drove a 1940’s era car and was dealing with a mystery who’s primary events took place in late 1970’s / early 80’s Hollywood but were styled as if they were 1930’s Hollywood. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the decades.

There was no semblance of realism of course. The villains were appropriately stupid in Scooby Doo cartoon fashion. And there were plenty of hidden passages and flashlights and such. And of course an explosion and a car chase. None believable in the slightest, but they were not supposed to be.

The whole thing was just funny and cute. A nice little weekend popcorn movie for the family. Probably won’t remember it too much a week from now, but not every movie needs to have a profound effect. Sometimes they can just be fun.

Of course, it was opening weekend and there were less than 10 people in the theater watching this movie. So chances are nobody else will remember this movie in a week either.


This week I am trying to be good. Brandy is on a wider “healthy food” campaign. But my focus is on trying to do just one thing: See how long I can avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup. I started trying on Monday. Apparently I probably failed, because someone at work brought in donuts, and I had, um, a few, without checking the ingredients, and I gather there is a good chance they had HFCS.

Tuesday onward I have been good though. I’ve been reading ingredients on stuff I buy for snacks, and avoiding the ones with the corn syrup. And I’ve basically been skipping things with no visible lists of ingredients, “just in case”. Although I have somewhat been assuming that if I order the roast beef and such at the cafeteria, it doesn’t have HFCS.

But let me tell you, this SUCKS. All the good stuff has HFCS. For me it basically means no soda, cause I think the Diet stuff is foul. The sweeteners they use there are just as bad or worse. But it isn’t like cutting out soda isn’t good for me anyway.

I’ve been eating stuff I probably wouldn’t otherwise. It is annoying, but so far (since Tuesday at least) I have stuck to it. Not sure how long it will last, but I’ll go as long as I can!

Tied Up

Mystery Dog

On Sunday when I was getting the mail, I noticed that about 15 feet away this black dog was wandering, and that he had no collar or tags. I called out to him, and he came to me wagging his tail and eager to be petted. He then followed me back to our front door when I told him too. Brandy got a leash on him and we sat on the porch with him for a bit hoping his owners would come by.

After about half an hour when nobody came by, we decided to let the dog lead us. We told him to take us “home” as Brandy and I walked with him. He took a right from our house. Out to the bigger street. Another right. Then after a bit onto a path through a little park, then to another street. Then quite a way down that street. Then a right for a ways. Then before long another right. We were now after taking a big long loop heading back to our own house.

Right when we turned a corner so we could see our house in the distance he started walking faster and faster. And right up to the front door of a house about six or seven houses over from ours to the LEFT.

I knocked on the door and his people answered and gladly took him in when I said “Is he yours?”. He’d gotten out from the back yard and I don’t think they had realized he was missing yet.

Of course, when we’d said “take us home” he COULD have just turned left and been there in seconds. But instead he took us for a nice walk first. But he was home.

Good. Cause I’m pretty sure I’m not up for two dogs. And I’m pretty sure it would have ended up that way if we hadn’t found his home. :-)

I forgot to ask his name though.

Leopard and Stuff

I’d actually considered not posting about the WWDC keynote because it was definitely not as much as hoped for. No new hardware. The “top secret features” turned out to be evolutionary, not revolutionary, and most of the features that were shown were actually ones that had been shown before.

Having said that, it is worth looking at all the Demo videos at the link above. There *is* some pretty cool stuff in there. And I’ll have it installed on my Mac the day it comes out.

I will do a couple quick notes on Leopard (and stuff) in the wake of the keynote:

  • Desktop: Some of this looks like it could be good. But it is in the class of the kind of thing I can’ really give a good opinion on until I get to try it.
  • Finder: This should be good. I like some of these enhancements. And while I have not yet even one single time used cover flow in iTunes (other than to check it out when it first came out) I could see myself using it in the finder.
  • Quick Look: This should be very good. It seems like one of those, of course it should do that, sorts of things.
  • Time Machine: By far the feature I want the most. I live in perpetual fear of losing my data. I run automated backup software every night. This should take it to the next level. They also noted that you will be able to hook up a large drive on the network and then have multiple Macs back up to it. As we are likely to have a second Mac in the house later this year, I’ll have to decide if I want a separate backup drive on each, or a big one for the house. I’m guessing network speeds will still be prohibitive to do remote backup over the internet to a drive at my mom’s house or something… but maybe in a few years.
  • Spaces: I can certainly see the appeal in theory, but I’m not sure how much I’d actually use it.
  • Mail: Graphical stationary templates? Oh no, please no. I really don’t need that. Notes and To Do lists? Hmmm… I use other things for that right now. But I admit I often email myself to do’s and use my inbox to keep track of them. Perhaps I’ll give it a shot. RSS feeds in mail? Maybe. I’ll check it out. I’ve never gotten into the habit of reading my favorite sites by RSS rather than actually going there. I actually LIKE going to the websites themselves. But one again, I’ll try it.
  • iChat: Most of the new features are aimed at doing the “fun” sort of things. I really can’t see myself doing them more than once. Amy? I could see her doing them… except all her friends use Skype for IM, not AIM, and as far as I know none have video capability yet. But we shall see. The Demo made me want to slap the guy who was showing the features. Bleh. There are some other features that will be potentially usable though, the document sharing and such. But those are more business useful, and Macs still are not very strong in that market.
  • Other: I will use the web clipping dashboard thing a LOT. Safari on Windows? We’ll see how that goes. Parental Controls? We’ll check it out. Boot Camp: I’m unlikely to ever use it. And if I have that need, I see myself going the Parallels route instead. iPhone Apps as Web 2.0 apps? That is lame. You can do a lot that way, but I don’t believe it covers all cases. If the iPhone really is OS X under the hood, you can’t fully exploit it unless you let people develop for it. And for that matter, I want terminal and the ability to get at the internals just like I can on my Mac if I want to. It will be interesting to see what happens after launch. Do I still want an iPhone? Yeah. But I’ll almost certainly be waiting for Rev 2 in a year or so. (Of course, in all honesty, it is because of being locked into my Sprint contract for awhile and the cost of switching… not the thing with the apps. :-)

OK. That’s if for WWDC.

Oh yeah, you can watch the whole keynote here. Or at least you will be able to after every geek on the internet stops trying to watch it at the same time. It was unwatchable when I tried about an hour ago.

Curmudgeon’s Corner 2007-06-10

The second episode of Curmudgeon’s Corner for 2007 was released yesterday. This time it is 13 minutes long.

For the second episode, Sam goes solo and talks about:

  • Tuning out to Political Talk
  • Father’s Day
  • WWDC
  • Kids and Computers
  • A Poem

If you have not subscribed and wish to, click on the icon below to automatically subscribe in iTunes.

For the moment the podcast is distributed only in m4a format, which pretty much means you need iTunes (or an iPod) to play it. If there is demand for a non-iTunes/iPod version, I might consider it. Let me know.