Archives: July 2009

Fri 31 Jul 2009

Curmudgeon's Corner: Really Long Effin Poem

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Goodbye Sarah Palin
  • Jupiter Gets Smashed
  • Alternate Money
  • Honduras Again
  • New Diabetes Treatment
  • US International Rep
  • Henry Louis Gates
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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.


Abulsme - Fri, 31 Jul 2009, 10:35:41 PDT
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Sat 25 Jul 2009

DVD: Blue Planet: Seas of Life (Discovery Channel Version): Disk 3

So it was time once again for a DVD we own but hadn't watched yet. This time it was Disk 3 of this series. There were two episodes on this disk. One thing I was struck by was that there were a number of stylistic elements that were different than the first two disks in the series. But no matter. The two were "Tidal Seas" and "Coasts". Now, of course the area where a lot of the tidal action was going on WAS the coasts, but they differentiated with the tidal one concentrating on wildlife whose life was exceptionally strongly influenced by tidal cycles while the second one was more about just things going on at the coasts that were not tide related.

Of these two, I liked the tidal one better. More odd creatures I was less familiar with that were just neat. Meanwhile, the second one had a lot of large predators killing and eating cute penguins and seals and stuff. You're busy thinking "Aw, what a cute penguin!" and then all of a sudden a sea lion or walrus or something is tossing it up in the air and ripping it in half or whatnot. Oops.

Anyway, this continues to be a good series. I think of the first three disks though, Disk Two is my favorite at the moment.


Abulsme - Sat, 25 Jul 2009, 18:11:40 PDT
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DO. NOT. WANT.


Abulsme - Sat, 25 Jul 2009, 15:34:15 PDT
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Just a Thought

I don't know (yet!) about the trials of parenting an infant or toddler or other ages younger than 7, but being a parent to a teenager is definitely much more difficult and stressful than parenting a 7 to 12 year old pre-teen! Just sayin'


Abulsme - Sat, 25 Jul 2009, 13:23:24 PDT
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Fri 24 Jul 2009

Alex's Baby Registry

Oh, and yes, since a bunch of people have asked over the last few weeks... there is of course a baby registry. Of course it is at Amazon. We fully anticipate to get most of the stuff ourselves, and some of the "nice to have" we may not bother with at all, but if anybody out there DOES want to help out at all with stuff for Alex we would of course welcome and appreciate it. The direct link to the registry is:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/baby/WOM4ACMY49EM

Based on the range of estimates, best we can really say is he is due "sometime in September", although we are guessing earlier rather than later. And we were planning on doing almost all of our baby supply purchasing at the beginning of August (to coincide with my next batch of company stock becoming available). So... if anybody wants to help... THANKS! :-)


Abulsme - Fri, 24 Jul 2009, 08:28:52 PDT
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And our baby's name will be... William Alexander Minter



William because I noticed awhile back that on my father's side of the family going back through his father, and his father, and his father, etc... every other generation since 1736... 273 years... has been a William Minter. (Details below.) When I showed this to Brandy, her immediate and unhesitating reaction was "Well, we know what we have to name it if it is a boy." And that was that for the first name.

We did also decide though that we would not actually call him that on a regular basis. There is already someone in the immediate family, my father, very much still using that name. So we'll let him continue to be the William/Bill in the family. So we'll call him by his middle name.

We tried a bunch of names as we were testing out calling him various things after we found out the gender. "Alex" just sort of stuck. There was no single moment where we decided that would be it, it just sort of happened and then we all realized that was what we were calling him. It is also the name of my sister Cynthia's pet snake, but we decided we wouldn't let that stop us. :-)

Anyway, it will be "William Alexander Minter". We will generally call him Alex. Except Amy, who has decided to call him "WAM".

Official due date is still September 21st, although the latest ultrasounds showed him a bit ahead of schedule, with an estimated date of September 5th. (Closer to what Brandy has thought all along.) So possibly not very long now at all.

Oh, and for those who are interested, the line of William Minters...

1619-1655: John Minter
1650-????: John Minter Jr
1690-1743: John Minter III
1736-1809: William Minter
1769-1846: John Minter
1797-1871: William Minter
1833-1913: John Russell Minter
1873-1943: William Ramseur Minter
1912-1991: David Ramseur Minter
1942- : William Maynard Minter
1971- : Samuel Antonio Minter
2009- : William Alexander Minter

And yes, for awhile there was something going on with the name "John" as well, but it seemed to have petered out almost 100 years ago. :-)

Edit a few minutes later: Look at my next post for baby registry information if you are interested.


Abulsme - Fri, 24 Jul 2009, 08:09:46 PDT
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Tue 21 Jul 2009

Curmudgeon's Corner: Always Reboot

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Healthcare and Retirement
  • Off Site Backup
  • Frustrating Software
  • Sotomayor and Congress
  • End of the Recession?
  • Space Exploration
  • Cronkite
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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.


Abulsme - Tue, 21 Jul 2009, 12:27:21 PDT
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Mon 20 Jul 2009

We Choose The Moon



For those who aren't already watching/listening We Choose The Moon is replaying the live audio (delayed 40 years) from Apollo 11. As I type it is 1 hour and 13 minutes until they begin the lunar decent, and 3 hours and 45 minutes until the landing. Worth a listen.


Abulsme - Mon, 20 Jul 2009, 09:23:41 PDT
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Doctor 11 - Seriously, a Bow Tie?



First Photo of Next Doctor's Costume
(Doctor Who Official News Site, 20 Jul 2009)

His new costume comprises black boots, dark trousers, a smart shirt and bow tie with a light brown jacket completing the ensemble. It says adventure. It says laid back cool. It says Time Lord chic and we're loving it!
Uh huh.


Abulsme - Mon, 20 Jul 2009, 01:05:04 PDT
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Sun 19 Jul 2009

DVD: Sixteen Candles

So, this week was an Amy movie weekend. It actually was supposed to be for the last several weeks, but she never had a qualifying movie. This time she did. But then at the last minute she got an invite from a friend for some concert, so ditched family movie night. Brandy and I watched her movie anyway.

The movie was Sixteen Candles, which I had NEVER SEEN. I knew it was some sort of "classic" from the 80's that was always spoken of with nostalgia. I figured that meant it was a good movie. I was wrong. There were perhaps a couple of funny moments, but it was mostly just bad and full of annoying stereotypes. Now, did I recognize some of Amy's behavior in Molly Ringwald? OK, maybe. BUt for the most part, it was just people walking around doing things that didn't make sense, and for which the motivations were unclear and also made no sense. And almost everybody making bad decisions and acting irresponsibly at every turn.

I admit it, I just don't get it.

Why does anybody like this movie?


Abulsme - Sun, 19 Jul 2009, 22:43:38 PDT
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Sat 18 Jul 2009

Cinema: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

So, Amy went to see the Harry Potter movie with a friend of hers on opening night. And when I found out Amy was going, I insisted that Brandy and I go too. (To an overlapping showing though, we didn't crowd in on Amy and her friends. :-)

Anyway, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this, but I liked it. Yes, there were major parts of the book missing. But it was a long book. Yes, there were some silly parts. But it was fun. It was funny at the right bits and got sad at the right bit, etc.

Could some of it have been better? Sure. Was the book better than the movie. Sure.

But it was a good fun summer movie, and if you watched any of the rest of these, or if you've read the books, then you have to see this, right?

Anyway, none of the Harry Potter movies have been masterpieces, and I'm not sure they even strive for that. But this is one of the better of the bunch so far.

At least I think so.

Amy has already seen it twice.

I think I'll be fine with once.

But I wouldn't have missed it.


Abulsme - Sat, 18 Jul 2009, 14:11:59 PDT
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Fri 17 Jul 2009

Thoughts on Mozy?

For the last few days I've been trying out Mozy for offsite backup, adding a bit more for it to back up each day. Does anyone out there have any thoughts or experiences on Mozy they would like to share, either positive or negative?


Abulsme - Fri, 17 Jul 2009, 19:20:04 PDT
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And that's the way it is, July 17th 2009

Goodbye Walter.


Abulsme - Fri, 17 Jul 2009, 17:36:26 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Capitol-ism

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • DC
  • Hosting
  • History Lessons
  • Governor Palin
  • Holder Prosecuting?
  • Presidential Power
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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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.


Abulsme - Fri, 17 Jul 2009, 14:32:21 PDT
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Ire-Tree


Abulsme - Fri, 17 Jul 2009, 14:28:18 PDT
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DVD: Doctor Who: Inferno: Disk One

This last Friday Amy wasn't home, and the movie of the week was another old Doctor Who. This time it was the Third Doctor story Inferno from 1970. My vague memory is that this is the first Third Doctor episode I ever saw back when I was a teenager.

As of late as we have been going through the old episodes, I have been anxious to get past the 1960's stuff and get on to the slightly more recent 4th Doctor and beyond stuff. But some of the 3rd Doctor stories actually aren't too bad. This is one of those. I didn't have strong memories of this story, so I've been pleasantly surprised. I've enjoyed it so far. Some funny moments. Interesting story so far, etc.

Now, this was only Episodes 1-4... 5-7 are on Disk Two. So we'll see if I continue to think the same way.

But for now, I think of the 3rd Doctor episodes, I kind of like this one.

[Edit 2009 Sep 22 02:48 UTC - We just went to watch disk two, only to find it was all extras, and in fact all seven episodes of this were on the first disk. So please ignore the above, a new review will be posted once we watch ALL of Disk One.]


Abulsme - Fri, 17 Jul 2009, 09:03:33 PDT
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Thu 16 Jul 2009

Amy Bottles


Abulsme - Thu, 16 Jul 2009, 23:00:26 PDT
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DVD: The Philadelphia Story

We've been pretty good the last few weeks at actually doing the family movie night every Friday. Two Friday's ago it was my movie again, and as I do every other one of my movies, it was time for working my way up the AFI 100 Years 100 Movies list and it was time for #51, The Philadelphia Story. With this movie I have now watched 50 of the 100 movies! Woo! I'm on my way!

Anyway, it is a funny little romantic comedy sort of thing. Amy was skeptical at first and did not want to watch it. It was old, it was black and white, and it was one of my picks. Harumpf!

Anyway, by the time it was over, she loved it. She keeps a little "Quotes File" on her iPhone, and she added several quotes from this movie. And she and Brandy both laughed a bunch.

Meanwhile, I thought it was OK. It was a fun little movie I guess, but I wasn't overly impressed, and if you ask me about it in a couple years, I probably will remember very little about it.

But in general people liked it, and the fact that Amy liked it made it a fun time.

So, good movie. Probably worth a rental once.


Abulsme - Thu, 16 Jul 2009, 22:33:41 PDT
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Double Time

A few weeks ago I complained that while the iPhones new speed adjustment feature for podcasts was neat, it was buggy and stopped me from listening to podcasts the way I want to (randomly shuffled and mixed with music). That is all still very much true. (Although hopefully Apple will fix it at some point.)

The end result here has been a rapid collapse in the amount of music I listen to when I am using my iPhone, as if I have to actually CHOOSE, I have to be in a pretty rare mood to choose music over a podcast. If they are mixed randomly, I can have both and I'm happy about it, and the mix generally actually even favors the music. But if I'm in the car for 20 minutes to drive to or from work, I'll put on podcasts, not music.

Now, I can't shuffle them any more, so I've been listening to them ordered by age, so I'm always listening to my oldest unlistened to podcast. Which is OK I guess.

But then comes the double time stuff. This is GREAT. It is generally not hard to listen to at all. I can listen to double the amount in the same amount of time. And I actually find that I am getting more out of it and retaining more of what I hear. Because the speed of the speech now (almost) keeps up with my thought. (I could probably actually go up to triple speed and that might be perfect for a lot of these.) It makes you realize just how SLOW people are talking normally. Especially some people. The double speed just seems to make everything more easy to engage with.

And yes, I even listened to my own podcast this way, and yes... it is much improved by being compressed from an hour to half an hour at double the speed. It tempts me to figure out a way to speed it up before publishing... then I could speed it up EVEN MORE on the iPhone. :-)

I find it annoying though that you can't double time the video podcasts. It is making me think of switching to audio only versions where available, or even ditching some of them completely.

Oh, and I sometimes flip to normal speed when listening to music oriented podcasts... although sometimes those are improved by double speed as well. :-)


Abulsme - Thu, 16 Jul 2009, 21:14:23 PDT
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Cinema: Up

So I really wanted to see Up, and while we waited a little while after it was out to see it, I did drag the whole family to see it, and we saw it in 3D.

Suffice it to say that I agree with pretty much everybody who has reviewed this. I loved it. Great movie. The beginning part was particularly poignant. And then the fun adventure began. As usual for Pixar films, most of the characters are great, and there is a lot of good humor. I particularly liked the dog (Dug), and the bird (Kevin).

Parts of it were of course a bit predictable, but I didn't care. It was just a lot of fun. And it was cute. And it was funny. And it was sentimental. All the kinds of things I like in a movie. :-)

Now, by this point it has been out for a long time, so if you haven't seen it yet, go out and see it. Don't wait for DVD. And if you can see it in 3D, do so. It is the polarized kind, not the old colored glasses kind, so it works much better. Our only problem was that at the theater we saw it in there was a distracting dent in the center of the screen that was emphasized more with the 3D glasses on, but I'd still say the 3D actually added, without being too gimicky.

Anyway. Fun. Good. Go see.


Abulsme - Thu, 16 Jul 2009, 20:57:16 PDT
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Back in Action

Aside from one exception for last week's podcast, there have been no posts here because there was a bit of a meltdown with the server that had been used to host Abulsme.com for the last little bit. This was a server owned by my friend Chris which I have been allowed to use as a favor, which I greatly appreciate. When the machine went down, Chris helped get everything set up another place temporarily to let me post last week's podcast, but because I didn't yet have my full suite of automated backups and such going there, I didn't post anything else. And this proved to be the push to move off of Chris's stuff onto regular old hosting that I've been meaning to do for years now but just never got around to.

So as of about 10 hours ago, abulsme.com is now in a new home which I actually pay for. And yes, I went for a cheap ass plan, and yes, because of that it was probably more of a pain in the ass than it would have been if I'd paid more, but whatever, it is all set up now. If it proves to be insufficient in the future I guess I'll upgrade.

Oh, and the wiki and my graphs are still yet another place. I'll probably try to consolidate those over the next few weeks too.

Anyway, I'm back. I have a few posts to catch up on, and I need to get this week's podcast out tonight as well.

So, higher than average posting tonight.

Probably.

Unless I get distracted by something shiny.


Abulsme - Thu, 16 Jul 2009, 20:04:30 PDT
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Thu 09 Jul 2009

Curmudgeon's Corner: Feverish

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Microphones and WebTV
  • Personal Finance
  • Palin Quits
  • Economy Update
  • Honduras, Russia and Iran
  • Jackson Again
  • Tech of Significance
1-Click Subscribe in iTunes

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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.


Abulsme - Thu, 9 Jul 2009, 22:09:05 PDT
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Tue 30 Jun 2009

Hermano Juancito

I promised in the podcast that I'd post a link to this right after I posted the podcast, but then I had to run to work so didn't get to it until now, many hours later. I should have actually posted it days ago, but I didn't. Such is life.

This link is to the blog of John Donaghy, a cousin of Brandy's. (Technically he is a "first cousin once removed" for those who like getting those things straight.) From his blog's profile: "I am a lay volunteer with the Catholic diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. I help in the rural parish of Dulce Nombre de María and serve as associate director of Caritas of the diocese."

He has been blogging recently about the situation there in Honduras.

The link to the blog: HermanoJuancito.

The beginning of a recent post:

Golpe de estado – day three
(John Donaghy, Hermano Juancito, 30 Jun 2009)

For a few minutes the quiet of the streets of Santa Rosa was broken by the shouts of people marching in support of the ousted president, Mel Zelaya. There were over 200 on foot followed by at least twenty cars with at least 100 people. They had blocked the highway near Santa Rosa since early this morning, joining with roadblocks in other parts of Honduras of people against the coup.

The mainstream press, mostly owned by the economic elite, largely downplayed these protests and claimed that they were controlled and guided by Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. However the well attended rallies in support of the coup in San Pedro Sula and the capital city of Tegucigalpa were well covered here.

...
I also sent the link to Andrew Sullivan last night, and he of course linked it before I did myself. Sullivan did get one thing wrong though (even though I mentioned it in my email to him), he is blogging from Honduras, but he is an American expat, not a Honduran.


Abulsme - Tue, 30 Jun 2009, 19:04:41 PDT
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