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



March 2009

Hed Code

Also, I woke up Sunday with a stuffy head. Now, about 14 hours later, it is a full fledged head cold. It sucks. I hate colds. It will probably end up moving to my chest within the next 24 hours, and then I’ll be completely miserable.


Moving an Office

On Saturday Amy and I moved my desk and a couple other pieces of critical furniture from my home office upstairs, down to what had been a mostly unused room downstairs (it had Mike the Skink, a hammock, and some exercise equipment in it). Amy did almost all the disassembling and assembling of furniture. The above is a timelapse of the work, first in the old office, then in the new office. And then a bit of Mike at the end.

So I’m now in my new home office downstairs. This is of course to make room for a nursery upstairs. And yes, I know we have a decent number of months before that is actually needed, but I figured I wanted to get it done with. And besides, the new office is actually a bit larger. So far, I think I like it.

Of course, so far I really have only moved the major furniture and the computer. Many piles of papers and books and other things are still upstairs. I figure I’ll gradually move them over the next week or so.

Then the room upstairs will probably stay empty for a bit longer before we ACTUALLY start setting it up as a nursery.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying my new office… which for the moment still has a hammock in it too.

Another Fourteen Weeks of SemiProductivity

Back in November, I posted stats on the “things I want to do at home” that I’d gotten done between August 24th and November 29th. They are here.

The summary of that was:

  • 20 hours of catching up on putting things in Quicken and/or paying bills (51%)
  • 7 hours of random things from my projects list (18%)
  • 5 hours of catching up on old email (13%)
  • 4 hours of genealogy stuff (10%)
  • 3 hours of reading (8%)

That’s 39 hours in 14 weeks, or about 2.8 hours per week of productive at home work on things I want to spend time on at home. That was pretty sad.

But, another 14 weeks has gone by. Lets see how the stats worked out for November 30th to March 7th…

  • 20 hours of catching up on putting things in Quicken and/or paying bills (43%)
  • 10 hours of reading (22%)
  • 7 hours of random things from my projects list (15%)
  • 5 hours of genealogy stuff (11%)
  • 4 hours of catching up on old email (9%)

That’s 46 hours! That’s 18% better than last time around. Woo! Go me!

Of course, that is still only 3.3 hours per week. I’m thinking a “reasonable” number for this would be more like 7 to 10 hours per week. Oops.

If I can get to 7 to 10, I think I’d actually be “keeping up” rather than falling further behind on my personal projects each week. We’ll see if I can adjust things to do a bit better the next 14 weeks.

Cinema: Watchmen

A little over a week ago, Brandy and I went to see Watchmen. Ivan and I spent a good deal of time talking about this on the last Curmudgeon’s Corner, so I won’t spend as long talking about it here as I usually would. Listen to the podcast.

But I will say, I liked it. Brandy hated it. (Ivan hated it too.) Here is what I think is the main difference. What made me like it was not the plot, or the acting, or anything like that (which I think the others perhaps legitimately fault it on). What made me like it was the BACKGROUND. Noticing the little references going on behind the main characters. The things playing on TVs in the background. Figuring out what the differences were between the world in the movie and the real world. (From a historical point of view, not the radioactive blue man point of view.) Looking at the concept in general of these very flawed and unsympathetic characters. Etc. Whatever the main story was would be playing out, and I’d pay attention to that, sure, but then I’d notice that there was a commercial for the clapper playing in the background, and I’d get excited about that. And I’d spend time figuring out just how many terms Nixon would have had to have to still be president in 1985, and I’d like that. Then I’d look at Pat Buchanan talking about superheroes, and I’d like that. The movie was so dense with those sort of things, they occupied enough of my attention that any other flaws the movie may have had became invisible to me, because I was always on the lookout for more nuggets like those. And I’m sure I’ll see even more if I ever watch it again at home. This is the kind of movie that makes you want to look at it frame by frame looking for more easter eggs in the background.

Of course, it takes a special kind of geek to enjoy that sort of thing. Which means everybody else hates the movie, and thus it is tanking quite nicely in the theater.

Oh well!

Stewart and Cramer

Another Daily Show bit that will stand out over time. The actual show cut this way down, but the full, unedited, 23 minutes or so, is available online. And we’re left once again asking why “real” news places don’t actually push and prod and question the assumptions everyone makes, etc. It would be nice if that happened sometime. This is played straight too. This isn’t a bunch of laughs. Both Steward and Cramer are dead serious almost the whole time. Speaking of which, I give Cramer a lot of credit for actually coming on this show and taking his spanking.

In three parts:

(via Oliver Willis and a bunch of other places)

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Giant Blue Radioactive Man

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • A Personal Note
  • Watchmen
  • Savings Time
  • Dow Zero
  • Divorce and Marriage
  • Why the Dow?

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Note: For those using the “View in iTunes” link, it often takes iTunes quite a few hours to show a new episode after the episode is posted here. So if you are looking for the podcast very soon after I post this, use one of the other methods to find the new episode. For those who are subscribed, your Podcast software should pick up the new episode next time it checks for new episodes on its own, or you can always force a refresh. For those using the XML feed directly, the new episode is now there. Enjoy.

Blue Whale

OK, I give up, your damn marketing campaign worked. I’ve seen this damn blurb in the feeds of it seems like dozens of the blogs I have in Google Reader. Or maybe it was dozens of times in the same blogs. I don’t know. In any case, it seems like I’ve been seeing it over and over and over again.

Blue whales are the planet’s largest creatures, yet we hardly ever see them. Their calls travel thousands of miles, but we can barely hear them. Now, National Geographic embarks on a mission to witness what nobody ever has in these waters; blue whales eating and giving birth.
Click to Learn More

Fine. I just set my Tivo to record it. You win. This is probably the first internet ad campaign I’ve clicked on in many years, and not only that, I’m going to watch your damn TV show. You win. You can stop now. Or do I have to see this another 500 times before Sunday?

Stewart on CNBC

I’m sure most of you have seen this by now, It has been linked to from pretty much everywhere, but I’m running a bit behind on my feeds right now, so for those of you who haven’t…

What is Molybdenum?

So, last week I made a quick post titled Molybdenum is Coming. It was just a picture of a square from the periodic table. But it was a code. A code I figured at least one of the readers of this blog would get.

Indeed, one did, and he proceeded to email a number of the friends we have in common, clueing at least that small group in to what it meant.

I also explained what it meant on the last episode of Curmudgeon’s Corner, titled Element 42.

I had intended both the original post about Molybdenum, and this explanatory post to happen a little over two weeks later than I actually made the posts, but some folks were anxious to get the news out the door sooner rather than later. Namely, Amy was just about ready to burst wanting to tell everybody she knew. :-)

Anyway, for any of my other readers who have not already figured it out or found out through other means, here is the explanation…

For many many years, whenever the topic of baby names came up, I would joke that if I ever had a girl, I would name it Molybdenum. Because of course it would be Molly for short and that would be a good name, plus it would be an element, and how cool is that, and also, it is Element 42, the answer to life, the universe, and everything, and you just could not top that!

So yes, although there were only a handful of people who would even have a chance of getting the reference… I still figured I’d use the Molybdenum thing as my pseudo announcement that yes, indeed, Brandy and I are expecting a baby…

For those of you who didn’t get the reference, or were not told about this by someone who did, this post is the official, non-cryptic announcement of that fact. :-)

To answer the most common questions, either those people actually ask, or that they probably think but don’t ask:

  • Officially at the moment the due date is September 21st, although the doctor has given us dates as early as September 6th, depending on which thing she was looking at.
  • We’ve been planning this for a couple of years now.
  • No, there almost certainly won’t be a rush wedding between now and September.
  • We may however actually start Brandy’s divorce proceedings against her husband who she hasn’t seen in over a decade.
  • Yes, Amy is very excited to have a sibling coming.
  • Yes, we plan to find out the sex in advance.
  • Yes, there is a registry.
  • My home office will become the nursery, I will move downstairs with Mike the skink.
  • Yes, I know having a baby in the house will change almost everything.
  • Yes, we told our parents and close relatives and such a number of weeks before I made the Molybdenum post… I didn’t make them find out by reading my blog.
  • Yes, the picture is a sonogram of Molybdenum… from several weeks ago… February 9th actually.
  • No, Brandy won’t actually let me name the baby Molybdenum. Drat!
  • Umm… any other questions?

Anyway, we’re all very excited.

Molybdenum is coming!

Hey Ma, Look What I Found!

Dr Who Dalek found in pond
(Daily Telegraph, 4 Mar 2008)

Sales executive Marc Oakland was pushing a rake around the bed of the shallow pool when he found the object with its distinctive eye stalk.

The 42-year-old said: “I’d just shifted a tree branch with my foot when I noticed something dark and round slowly coming up to the surface.

“I got the shock of my life when a Dalek head bobbed up right in front of me.”

(via Outpost Gallifrey)