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November 2017
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According to my calculations, taking into account all the geeky things I take into account, at 13:22 UTC today (6:22 AM Pacific, 9:22 AM Eastern), Amy will be exactly 22 years old.

Happy Birthday Amy!!!

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Shuck and Jive

On Curmudgeon’s Corner this week, Sam and Ivan review the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and compare to what Katrina looked like 12 years ago. Then they dive into politics, looking at Trumps latests dalliances with the Democrats and what should or should not be read into that, followed by a discussion on the latest efforts on healthcare from both the Republican and Democratic side. Then at the end, a discussion of this week’s Apple announcements.

Click below to listen and subscribe!



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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-09-16
Length this week – 2:15:01

  • (0:01:00-0:10:09) But First
    • Turning 46
    • Agenda
    • Concorde
  • (0:10:47-0:39:38) Hurricanes
    • Irma in Florida
    • Irma in the Islands
    • Harvey and Irma vs Katrina
    • Weathering the storm
    • Nursing Home deaths
  • (0:40:24-1:14:20) Independant Trump
    • Making Deals
    • Schadenfreude
    • Transactional Trump
    • Is Trump Republican?
    • Democrats too happy?
    • Will this turn the R’s?
    • He told you!
    • Equifax Tidbit
  • (1:15:00-1:34:35) Healthcare
    • Bernie Plan
    • Graham-Cassidy
    • Fixing ACA?
    • Give Trump a win?
  • (1:35:15-2:14:40) Apple Stuff
    • Apple Watch
    • AppleTV
    • iPhone 8
    • iPhone X
    • Work Phone


The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

16801.141 Days

As of the moment this is scheduled to post, at 0:21 UTC on the 16th (5:21 PM Pacific, 8:21 PM Eastern on the 15th) I was exactly 46 years old. This is of course properly taking into account leap years, the fact years are not even numbers of days, time zones, and the time and place I was born…  So I am now 46, although it will be a few hours until most others will admit it.

When I sat down to calculate this date and time, I was actually surprised, because I honestly had thought I was already 46 and was about to turn 47. It is easy to lose track of these things. So I got back an extra year! Yay!

Amy is TWENTY ONE!!!


Amy and Brandy are in Las Vegas to celebrate her 21st birthday. In the picture above, Amy reacts to dirt in one of Alex’s “Let’s Plant” videos that isn’t published yet. 

As of 07:33 UTC today (12:33 AM Pacific, 3:33 AM Eastern) Amy is officially 21 years old once you take into account leap years, the fact that years aren’t an even number of days, etc. I’m just that kind of geek.

In any case, Happy Birthday Amy! Enjoy your birthday vacation. Sorry Alex and I couldn’t share more of it! But you’ll have more fun without us. :-)

Can’t believe Amy is an ADULT. Crazy. Just crazy.

16435.899 Days

I missed the exact moment this year, cause busy and thinking of other things. But just under two hours ago at 18:32 UTC (11:32 AM Pacific, 2:32 PM Eastern) I was exactly 45 years old. Just looking at the date, you would think my birthday is tomorrow. But properly taking into account leap years, the fact years are not even numbers of days, time zones, and the time and place I was born…  the actual time has passed. I am 45 now.

Yay! Age!

Amy is TWENTY!!!


We no longer have a teenager! How amazing is that?

According to my calculations, which take into account time zones, the fact that a year isn’t an even number of days, leap years, and all that fun stuff, at the moment this posts…  2015-10-21 01:44 UTC (6:44 PM on the 20th Pacific, 9:44 PM on the 20th Eastern) Amy will be exactly 20 years old. TWENTY!

<Insert bad joke about paying rent here.>

Happy birthday Amy! It is an honor to have you as my daughter. Love you!

16070.657 Days

As of the moment this posts at 12:43 UTC on the 16th (5:43 AM Pacific, 8:43 AM Eastern) I will be officially exactly 44 years old, including the complications of leap years and time zones and everything.

The years go by quickly these days I guess. Anyway, yay?

Alex is SIX!!

At the moment this posts…  2015-09-13 03:31 UTC (the 12th at 8:31 PM Pacific, 11:31 PM Eastern)… Alex will be exactly 6 years old accounting for leap years and time zones and all the rest.  So…


As I have done on previous birthdays, here is a quick interview with Alex about turning six… well, almost 12 minutes. So maybe not so quick. I thought about editing it down to five minutes or something, but I was too lazy to take the time.

As usual, I suspect only close family will watch the whole thing. :-)

And now for my usual rundown of things that are different from the last one of these posts (which this time was from when he turned 5).

  • First, to get it out of the way, this summer Alex was diagnnosed on the autism spectrum. In his particular case the parts of this that actually affect anything that requires attention manifest as social anxiety, with some selective mutism. To put it simply, he is very outgoing and self-directed and talks constantly at home or with people he knows very well, but he shuts down quickly in unfamiliar situations, and takes a very long time to become comfortable in those new situations, especially if he is required to interact with lots of people. He is working with a councilor on techniques to make things easier on him, but new people and places are still pretty stressful for him, which sometimes results in him acting out in one way or another, refusing to speak at all, making animal noises instead of speaking, or just plan hiding. That kind of thing.
  • The one other aspect that is actually problematic is that he can be very inflexible with rules he makes for himself. Normally, this is not a problem… this, uh, describes me quite well too…  but one particular rule is one we are working hard to get him to change his mind on. In December, after years of it not being a problem at all, he decided that if he were ever to use any bathroom other than the downstairs bathroom in our house, that would make Daddy die, so therefore no matter what, he would never do that. Which means if he doesn’t come home to “check his trains” at least once every six hours or so he is very uncomfortable, and if it goes past eight or so, we’re in deeper trouble. We really want this particular rule to go away. Not really concerned about any others at the moment. :-)
  • This year Alex lost his dog. He had never known life without a dog. Dog was his first word. Roscoe was his constant companion. It was very sad, and a big deal for a five year old. He mostly tried to be matter of fact about it, but it was clear there was a big hole in his life, and questions and concerns about life and death became a common theme for many months.
  • This year Alex also got a new dog. As of his birthday today, Miley has been with us exactly a week. We have yet to see how everything will work out in the long run, but Alex was very very excited to get the new dog. Perhaps a little too excited, as can be seen in the interview, but we are working on that. By being so submissive to him Miley isn’t really helping to discourage Alex’s excesses though.
  • The once unimaginable has happened. While trains are still a frequent toy, and train games are still played, the train obsession appears to be over. From about age 1.5 to age 4.5, trains were the be all and end all of everything.  Since then they have been slowly fading. Not going away, but fading. He will always have a soft spot for trains I think (and maybe hope a little) but they are now just one of many things, not the center of everything.
  • But, there is a new central obsession, and for almost a year it has been Minecraft. Minecraft wasn’t even mentioned in last year’s birthday post. He started playing soon after, and was instantly hooked. First all creative mode. Then all survival mode for awhile. Now one or the other depending on what he is planning to do and who is going to be playing with him. Minecraft is a family activity, and all of us play with him, sometimes all of us at once, in the same world, cooperating to build things. As each month goes by, his creations have gotten more complex and more creative. He now routinely builds very large complex fully decorated structures. He plans out what he is going to do, builds a outline or scaffolding, then fills in the rest of the structure as needed. Often he acts as the central coordinator, determining the overall plan, then dividing up the necessary tasks between each of the family members he can get to join him. He’s got many Minecraft worlds he is cultivating over time on each and every one of our devices, many of which have now slowly developed over the course of the whole year. Recently, when opening one world, he said “This was one of my very first worlds, see, look, I didn’t know how to do anything yet, everything I built here is RUBBISH! RUBBISH I tell you!”
  • He started riding his actual bike! Sometimes. Occasionally. It still has training wheels on it, and he still PREFERS his push bike (which he calls his “tool bike”), but he has spent time riding his bike around the neighborhood with me. He could probably actually already ride without the training wheels, it is just a confidence thing. He likes what he is already secure with. Thus still prefering the push bike. We’ll probably start raising the training wheels soon…
  • He no longer has a single favorite movie or TV show. He watches a wide variety of different shows, and lots of different kinds of videos on YouTube too. Not much train stuff any more. But lots of Minecraft related stuff. And other “let’s play” kinds of game videos. But other things too. For TV he still primarily like shows that are in some way based on vehicles, but there are a few that are not.
  • For many months he talked about how he wanted to go camping. Eventually, we bought a cheap tent and went camping…  in the yard. He loved it, and he and I ended up sleeping in the tent four or five nights. I asked if that meant he was ready to go camping in the actual woods or something.  He said, no, in the yard was what he had meant all along, and that is the only place he wants to camp. :-)
  • He sneaks into presents. Knowing that one of the Amazon boxes was a present, despite multiple warnings not to open it, he just couldn’t resist. He opened it just enough to peek. He almost lost the present because of it, but he earned it back later, so it was still one of the presents under his Birthday Tree.  (Yes, birthday tree, we did a birthday tree to put the presents under. :-)

As usual, I’m sure there is much more, but that is what I could remember off the top of my head just now. I’m sure it is more than enough for most folks reading this. :-)

[Edit 14:42 UTC to remove an extraneous space.]

[Edit 2016-09-12 07:46 UTC to fix a typo found a year later… “w” -> “few”.]

Pics from Oct 2014

941 pictures for the month. First cut got it to 45 pictures. Second cut got it to 27. So then I added some others to get 33. Then one last cut down to 31.  :-)


2014-10-03 01:21 UTC – Alex still “arting” whenever he gets the chance. This is a nice swirly one.


2014-10-05 00:23 UTC – Roscoe REALLY needed a bath.


2014-10-05 23:59 UTC – More art. This time something more realistic. It is a plant growing out of a pot.


2014-10-06 20:15 UTC – October was also a big comeback month for Portal and Portal 2. Alex had taken a break from them for a few months, but spent MANY hours on them this month!


2014-10-10 02:46 UTC – We played through both Portal and Portal 2 from start to finish. In both cases Alex did most of the early levels, then handed it over to me. This is right as we finished up Portal 2 and the turrets were singing.


2014-10-11 03:12 UTC – Alex took my phone and took a bunch of pictures of himself and of his trains. This was the best of the bunch.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 11.58.19651

2014-10-11 15:38 UTC – It is important to Alex that his hair reaches his mouth.


2014-10-12 04:17 UTC – Tortilla Face


2014-10-13 19:56 UTC – Hat Head


2014-10-14 05:11 UTC (picture by my mom, time is when I got a copy of this, not when it was taken) – Mom Selfie


2014-10-14 06:39 UTC – The boys sleeping


2014-10-15 01:08 UTC – Rainbow from our front porch


2014-10-15 16:52 UTC – Pumpkin Patch Field Trip!


2014-10-15 16:53 UTC – A friend from school leads Alex to the good pumpkins


2014-10-15 17:01 UTC – Alex didn’t want to pick


2014-10-15 17:10 UTC – So we helped pick one


2014-10-15 17:59 UTC – Here’s the crew that came in our car as we were leaving. They look thrilled, don’t they?


2014-10-18 21:35 UTC – We had been talking about how he needed a haircut, so Alex started doing it himself. We caught him after just one cut though. Amy had to take pictures.


2014-10-18 21:35 UTC (picture by Amy) – One of Amy’s pictures of Alex and the hair he cut off


2014-10-18 22:18 UTC – Of course, after that, Alex had to cut my hair too.


2014-10-19 17:55 UTC (picture by Amy) – A squirrel came to visit our back patio


2014-10-20 02:02 UTC – My mom and Alex work together on an activity book


2014-10-21 01:24 UTC – If you look REALLY carefully, you might find Alex hiding from us at the store. Hint: Look closely at the four manikins, one of them might not be the same as the others.


2014-10-25 03:24 UTC – Amy and Shane at Amy’s birthday dinner a few days after her actual birthday


2014-10-25 05:17 UTC – Amy glares at me as I take a picture of her birthday outfit


2014-10-25 05:24 UTC – Amy’s birthday cake, made by Brandy

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 11.41.28533

2014-10-25 05:37 UTC – Alex and Amy eagerly await the presents. Maybe one of them is more excited than the other.


2014-10-26 05:14 UTC – Crazy Alex attacking me


2014-10-27 01:58 UTC – Grandma Ruth watches Alex make a drawing for her


2014-10-27 06:24 UTC – Someone fell asleep in my lap.


2014-10-31 01:59 UTC (picture by my mom, time is when I got a copy of this, not when it was taken) – Alex getting ready to come home after carving a pumpkin at Grandma Ruth’s house. Ready for Halloween night! (Which happened on November 1st UTC in Seattle, so that will be in next month’s pictures…)

Pics from Sep 2014

1076 pictures for the month.  First pass narrowed to 70. These are the 30 that best represent September.


2014-09-01 06:39 UTC (Picture by Amy) – An Amy Selfie to start the month. (Yeah, yeah, I already used this one on her birthday post.)


2014-09-01 21:44 UTC – Alex chases after Amy at Bumbershoot


2014-09-02 02:19 UTC – Alex and me joining the family after a quick romp through the fountain at Bumbershoot


2014-09-02 04:36 UTC – Amy comforts Alex after he tripped and took a bad spill while running after her to get into the EDM venue at Bumbershoot. After this he was done for the night.


2014-09-03 16:58 UTC – First day of school for Alex


2014-09-05 01:19 UTC – We didn’t even know we had an apple tree, but one day we noticed this hanging off a tree in our front yard. We think it is the tree’s very first apple. Awww…


2014-09-07 19:44 UTC – Brandy accidentally made a sculpture out of frosting.


2014-09-11 21:53 UTC – Alex plays in a balloon room at a local mall. (Posted before as part of Alex through the Years.)


2014-09-11 22:13 UTC – Alex and I built a robot! He knocked it over seconds later of course.


2014-09-12 20:28 UTC – Alex’s class at school prepares for his birthday ceremony, where the birthday kid circles a candle representing the sun once for each year of their lives, while the parents show pictures of them from each year and say something brief about what the kid was like each year. Brandy and I were participating, so no pictures of the actual event.


2014-09-12 22:21 UTC – Once we were home, it was time for our own birthday celebrations, and Roscoe got to wear the birthday hat from school.


2014-09-12 22:22 UTC – Grandma Ruth got to wear the hat too.


2014-09-12 22:48 UTC – Brandy made a train cake for Alex.


2014-09-12 23:11 UTC – Alex with a present from Grandma Ruth.


2014-09-12 23:14 UTC – Alex opening a present from Amy.


2014-09-14 05:27 UTC – One of Alex’s presents was a lego set from Papa Bill and Grandma Cathy. Alex has been getting more into Lego lately. Here he diligently follows the instructions to assemble this set.


2014-09-14 05:45 UTC – And here is the final product. Alex assembled it almost entirely himself, following the instructions in the booklet. He only asked for help on one or two of the many steps in the process. In the following days, he did several other lego sets too.


2014-09-16 23:48 UTC – A few days later, it was time for my birthday. Alex wanted Brandy to make me a train cake too, but Brandy was sick at the time, so instead Amy and Alex went to the store. Alex picked this hamburger and fries cake for me instead.


2014-09-17 00:19 UTC – Amy presents me with my biggest present, from her and Brandy. Can you guess what it is? (It was a much needed new chair for my home office.)


2014-09-20 22:31 UTC – Grandma Ruth took Alex, Roscoe and me on an adventure in a nearby park. This was the start of our hike.


2014-09-20 23:22 UTC – The destination of the hike was a little area on the shore of Lake Washington. Roscoe and Alex spent a few minutes playing in the water!


2014-09-20 23:34 UTC – After the hike and playing a bit, Roscoe was ready for a bit of a rest. We had a picnic. Roscoe patiently waited to share.


2014-09-21 00:02 UTC – Alex and I climb up on a large tree that had fallen over and leaned over the lake


2014-09-21 00:04 UTC – Alex does not seem impressed as he dismounts from the fallen tree.


2014-09-21 00:07 UTC – After the tree, there is some time for some more splashing at the edge of the lake.


2014-09-21 00:18 UTC – Then it was time for the hike back to the car. Everybody was a little tired by this point. But we had to keep going.


2014-09-21 01:50 to 01:56 UTC – Once back in the car, a certain someone couldn’t quite manage to stay awake.


2014-09-23 01:11 UTC – Uh, he is not supposed to climb up there.


2014-09-26 00:31 UTC – My mom and Sara. A good team.


2014-09-27 22:24 UTC – Alex told Brandy that he wanted some fresh paper and markers and such. Brandy got him this new art desk thing. Since then Alex has been “art-ing” every chance he gets, producing many many pages of drawings and paintings and other things. He uses that desk almost every day now!

And that wraps up September…