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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January 2009
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Level Up

Yesterday Amy re-auditioned at her orchestra and was bumped to the next level up.

Woo!

Our Old House

Another thing I made a note to myself to blog a long long time ago (March 2007 actually)… At that time Google Maps satellite view had a nice view of our old house in Florida with both my car and Brandy’s in front of it:

See, you can see them!

Cool enough. So today I checked out Google Maps again. Of course our cars aren’t there any more on the satellite view. You can see they added something on the roof and such but that view isn’t too interesting.

Then I checked out Street View:

Looks like they added a fence on one side, replacing a row of trees and bushes that were there before. They also ripped up most of the plants that were around the front of the house. There were a lot more bushes and things. I really liked those. They sort of surrounded an oval shaped area in front of those windows you see (which is where my home office was) so that there was a little private garden area there that you looked out onto rather than just a straight view of the street. The house looks much more barren and lacking in personality without them. Poor plants. Bastards.

Oh well, it still sucks to be them. According to Zillow, The house has lost over 30% in value since we sold it to them. HA HA. Should have left the plants where they were!

Goodbye Newport Hills Red Apple

On Friday morning the sign said “Our New Hours! 8 AM to 7 PM!” That was a reduction in hours. My immediate thought “Oh no, they are in trouble”.

By Friday afternoon the sign had been replaced with the above.

We stopped by there a few hours ago and picked up some things. The shelves were already half empty. It was somewhat sad.

This is the grocery store that is very easy walking distance from our house. We used to walk there all the time for small grocery trips. We’d walk there all the time with Roscoe as well, with one of us going inside and grabbing something small while the other (usually me) stays outside with Roscoe.

Brandy was already a little upset with them because during the snow they closed early a couple of times without notice (and without turning off their sign) and twice they locked the doors just as we were walking up, and then turned their backs and completely ignored people who came up to the doors. (Not even with a “Sorry, we had to close early due to the snow” from the employees or on a note taped to the door.) I thought that was understandable, but Brandy was annoyed.

Brandy says their prices were also generally higher than the multiple grocery stores a little further away from home. and they were smaller and with less selection. But this was a five minute walk from home and very convenient. I would frequently stop by there on the way home from work when Brandy made a last minute call saying she needed something. No more I guess.

Of course, it was not our primary source of groceries. It probably wasn’t the primary place for most folks around here. It was the secondary place to go for something quick. Which, along with the economy in general, is assuredly part of why they are closing.

As for us, our primary place for groceries continues to be Amazon Fresh. Aside from last minute things you don’t know you need until the very last second, it is just far more convenient. And Roscoe likes to bark at their truck when they drop the stuff off early in the morning.

Freeze Bubbles

OK, this is very cool.

(via Neatorama)

Next time it gets really cold, we really must try this.

DVD: American Virgin

This week was time for an Amy pick. She had picked American Virgin. This was a Year 2000 teen sex comedy sort of film. Of course, when I announced that this week’s movie night would be a Amy movie night, and since this was her current Netflix movie this would be what we would be watching (and I subsequently intercepted it at the mailbox to be sure I had it first so we could watch it) Amy announced that this was NOT a movie she wanted to watch with her parents. Brandy also took one look at the Netflix description of the movie:

When your father is a pornographer, what can you do to shock him? If you’re Katrina Bartalotti (Mena Suvari), you announce you’re going to lose your virginity — live on the Internet! Bob Hoskins co-stars as the mastermind behind the plan to broadcast Katrina’s deflowering. This wicked satire of the information age proves there are more than a few kinks left in the Net.

At that point Brandy said she was also pretty sure she didn’t want Amy watching this movie at all anyway. Yeah, I can understand that. Although I generally have the philosophy that if you are old enough that you WANT to see something, then you are old enough to actually see it… with appropriate context provided by parents as needed. But Brandy also said SHE didn’t want to watch it.

But since was the movie of the week, I was going to watch it at 05:00 UTC on Saturday no matter what happened damn it! I want to do a movie every week, and this was this week’s movie! And besides, it had Bob Hoskins in it. He was a real actor, it couldn’t be too bad could it? After all, he did Roger Rabbit and that was a good movie, right?

Wrong.

With the single lone exception of Jackass: The Movie which literally almost made me vomit in the theater it was so bad, this was pretty much the worst movie I have ever seen in my life.

OK, first of all, if you are supposed to be a teen sex comedy, there should actually be some sex, or at least some nudity. In the whole movie there was perhaps a grand total of 4 seconds of partial nudity of secondary characters. And while there was implied sex at one point, and implied simulated sex at maybe a couple of other points, there wasn’t even an actual real sex scene. Not even one. Not even a bad one, let alone a decent one.

What the movie actually had was 88 minutes of absolutely horrible acting, incredibly lame sex jokes that weren’t remotely funny, random people chasing and acting mad at each other, an unfunny and also undramatic scene of Bob Hoskins being tied up and essentially tortured, and of course an absolutely predictable ending.

After 30 minutes I had to pause the DVD and leave for a bit because it was just so bad. After seeing the look on my face when I came up during this break, the look of abject horror and disgust, Amy decided that maybe she didn’t want to see the movie at all after all. She asked me to PLEASE put it right back in the mail to Netflix when I was done.

Then I took a deep breath or two and headed back downstairs to finish the movie. It took a lot of will power to do so. It was just so bad. And the last 58 minutes of the movie were no better than the first 30. If anything, they were worse.

Having seen the whole movie, I don’t think it would have been particularly bad if Amy had watched it. I mean, it of course has sex jokes and sex references. But she is a teenager about to enter high school. It isn’t like she hasn’t seen or heard more explicit things elsewhere, including in movies we have watched together as a family, let alone the things that teenagers discuss amongst themselves. It is 2008 after all, not 1988 or 1968. (Not like those years were really all THAT much different other than ease of access to things due to the internet.) And there was nothing particularly wrong or offensive about it… other than the fact that watching something so horribly stupid has to leave a mark of some sort, perhaps permanently stripping away a couple of IQ points from anybody who watches it.

It was just awful.

Please, if you are ever tempted to rent this movie… don’t.

And if your teenager wants to watch it… I personally wouldn’t tell them no. I would however continuously make fun of them because of how insanely stupid a movie they were wanting to watch, and tell them if they really want to watch something in the teenage-sex-comedy-romp genre (which are mostly horrible, based on the few I have ever seen all or parts of) there MUST be better ones to choose from. There really must be. Right?

Oh, and I’d insist on sitting there watching it with them (even though it is so bad it would be somewhat painful) just to better make fun of them for wanting to see something so horrible.

Anyway. Don’t rent this movie. Really.

By the way, we’re all going to die!

Yellowstone is rumbling.

Plume’s Path
(Alan Sullivan, Fresh Bilge, 2 Jan 2009)

If Yellowstone volcano produced a major eruption plume — a very remote possibility, but one worth considering at the moment — where would it go? A really big eruption could drop ash thousands of miles from the source, but upper winds at the time of the eruption would determine which way the plume might track. Here is the GFS 16-day time-lapse model of winds at the 250 mb level — roughly the boundary between troposphere and stratosphere. It might prove useful. Even Florida will be downwind of Yellowstone at times during the next two weeks, as the jet stream flexes and pulses.

(via Instapundit)

More recent stuff from Sullivan here.

Chances of a major eruption are or course actually very remote, but Yellowstone is worth watching because it is one of those “supervolcanos” that have a habit of every few hundred thousand years erupting in a way that dwarfs “normal” volcanic eruptions and sometimes effect continent sized areas. The last time Yellowstone erupted was 640,000 years ago or so.

Anyway, Yellowstone is rumbling right now, with a “swarm” of Earthquakes indicating movement of the subterranean magma. Fun!