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



June 2024

My New Friends

None of the nearby Atlas Obscura spots this morning were universally enticing, so we went to African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio. These two posed for pictures. The bison gave me a nice lick.

Alex verdict: Too many animals.

Brandy verdict: They have no manners.

Sam verdict: They wanted to get in the car.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Weird Things Happening

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about Election 2016 of course. But first some bits about Mike the headless chicken, the comments on Sam’s Election Graphs site, stamp prices, Hey Siri, and a movie Sam watched. When they do get to the election they cover Trump’s shutout in Colorado, Trump’s general malpractice in delegate wrangling, the odds of a contested convention, the accusations of cheating in both parties, and much more!

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

Recorded 2016-04-14

Length this week – 1:20:15

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Show Details:

  • (0:00:41-0:22:29) But First
    • Ivan in his Car
    • Mike the Headless Chicken
    • Election Graphs Comments
    • Stamp Prices
    • Facebook Bots
    • Hey Siri
    • Movie: Mississippi Burning (1988)
  • (0:23:08-1:00:14) Election 2016
    • Trump shutout in Colorado
    • Delegate wrangling malpractice
    • Contested Convention Scenarios
    • Ryan saying no… Again
    • Odds of Trump getting majority
    • Trump Trends
    • Cruz wooing delegates
  • (1:00:53-1:19:55) Election 2016 Continued
    • Cheating? Stealing? Unfair? Rigged?
    • Sanders “contesting” the convention
    • Sanders attempts to woo superdelegates
    • Edit wars on Wikipedia Superdelegate list
    • Denial from Trump and Sanders people
    • What Sanders and Trump didn’t do
    • When is New York again?
    • Thoughtful Trump people wanted

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Fun Adventures with Cars

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about:
* Network Issues / Cars and Balls
* Charleston Shooting
* Election 2016
* Lightning Round

Recorded 2015-06-19

Length this week – 1:16:46

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Cars don’t eat balls


Alex likes to play with this exercise ball in the driveway.

I saw it behind my car.

I kicked it out of the way.

I got in my car. The ball rolled back. I did not see this.

I backed up. Squashing noise.

I rolled forward. Crunching noise.

The car had tried to eat the ball.

The car failed.

I pulled the ball out. It will be fine. Barely a scratch.

My car on the other hand is not happy.


Pics from Nov 2014

937 pictures for the month. First cut got it down to 50. Second cut got it to the required 1 per day 30 for the month of November.


2014-11-01 01:13 UTC – Remember I divide things based on Universal time, so in Seattle Trick or Treat is early on November 1st and that is how we start the month. For the second year running, Brandy made Alex a train as his costume. He also wore a conductor-like outfit.


2014-11-01 02:08 UTC – The train leaves the station with Grandma Ruth right behind.


2014-11-01 02:14 UTC (picture by Grandma Ruth) – At first, all the stops were like this. Alex insisting on hiding in the train while begging me to do the doorbell ringing to collect his candy.


2014-11-01 02:34 UTC – Later, after a bit of coaxing, we got him to actually go up and ring the bell.


2014-11-01 02:34 UTC – After which he would immediately turn and run. He would then hide in the train again.


2014-11-01 02:56 UTC (Picture by Grandma Ruth) – Eventually toward the end, he finally (reluctantly) did the whole thing himself a couple of times.


2014-11-01 03:57 UTC (picture by Brandy) – This was Amy’s first outfit for Freaknight.


2014-11-01 04:04 UTC – Trick or Treating over, Alex wants us to inspect some food he found.


2014-11-02 01:1? UTC (picture by Brandy) – Amy was going to be Chell (from Portal and Portal 2) for her second costume for Freaknight, but it was canceled for this evening. Amy was sad.


2014-11-02 01:14 UTC – Amy was not the only one in the family into Portal though, and Alex wanted a turn at the Portal Device.


2014-11-04 20:35 UTC – Alex was working hard in his workshop on new train layouts, but it wouldn’t do quite what he wanted, so he was getting very frustrated. Not much later, this particular layout was no more.


2014-11-07 00:54 UTC – I got a pic of a nice sunset in Lynnwood, WA.


2014-11-08 20:23 UTC – Roscoe wants to know why I am taking his picture.


2014-11-13 21:59 UTC – Alex had a trip to the dentist that required him to be asleep via anesthesia. This was right afterwards. He had roused enough that they were OK sending him home, but he was still basically asleep.


2014-11-13 22:19 UTC – Once he woke up his first request was McDonald’s. We had to tell him he wasn’t supposed to eat for another hour or so. He was very unhappy about this. He really wanted McDonald’s.


2014-11-15 21:52 UTC – A few days later though it was all forgotten. He wandered the aisles of a drug store choosing things he wanted, including the hat, glasses and brush, and asked to pose with his loot. (Which he did get to have.)


2014-11-17 22:42 UTC (Picture by Amy) – Um, then Amy totaled her car. Nobody was hurt except the car.


2014-11-17 22:?? UTC (Picture by Amy) – Amy was very sad though. Poor car.


2014-11-20 22:39 UTC (picture by Brandy) – Brandy got to go with Alex to a Thanksgiving thing at his school. Alex made faces while he ate.


2014-11-22 01:56 UTC – I’ve got Alex pumping gas for me.


2014-11-23 04:58 UTC – Alex decided that to be warm he needed to join me inside my sweater.


2014-11-23 18:37 UTC – Alex is starting to REALLY get into Lego. Usually it is vehicles of one sort or another, but this time he made this, which he said was “a dog in his yard”.


2014-11-27 03:16 UTC – And when he visits Grandma Ruth, he plays with MY old Lego from when I was a kid. You can also see the Mr. Potato Head that was modified to look like my High School Physics teacher Mr. Posa as part of a Rube Goldberg project my senior year of high school.


2014-11-28 01:45 UTC – Amy is not amused as I attempt to take pictures of her as we get ready for Thanksgiving dinner.


2014-11-28 01:50 UTC – A few minutes later, Alex elaborates on a story he wanted to tell before dinner.


2014-11-28 05:49 UTC – Later in the evening, food cleared away, Alex starts on some crafts.


2014-11-28 21:00 UTC – Pair of pants on head as a hat? Check! Second pair of pants in case you lose the first hat? Check! Blanket? Check! One of mommy’s purses? Check! Lets go on an adventure!


2014-11-29 16:26 UTC – Alex and Roscoe check out the first snowfall of the season.


2014-11-29 18:24 UTC – Daddy is just cold.


2014-11-29 18:36 UTC – There wasn’t that much snow, and it wasn’t very good for packing, but this was our pitiful attempt at a snowman. It was about 4 to 5 inches tall.

And thus ends November.

My New Car!


It came early! Merry Christmas to me!

Then She Traded In The Minivan


Amy Has Her Car… Uh… Minivan!


TARDIS Blue 2003 Ford Windstar

100% her choice. May she use it for good, not for evil. May she use it in wisdom. May she use it in peace. May she not run out of gas.

So I Ordered a Car

So, a few hours ago I bit the bullet and ordered the car that will replace my 1996 Saturn SL2 that died in September.

Those of you who listened to the November 13th Curmudgeon’s Corner know this, but my criteria were basically:

  • 4 door hatchback. Didn’t want a two door anything, nor a four door sedan (let alone SUVs, trucks, vans, etc.) I had my heart set on a hatchback from almost the beginning.
  • Smallish since I don’t like big vehicles. But still big enough so that it COULD hold the whole family of four without them all complaining about being cramped.
  • Stock stereo must have an AUX jack (or better) integration with my phone, since that is all I use for audio
  • Blue, since I have driven a green car since 1995
  • Must generally at least feel like a small step up from my old Saturn
  • I wanted a 2012 model new car. Not used, or even a 2011 model. Intention is to buy new, then keep it until it can’t move any more, which preferably will be on the order of 15+ years.
  • Under $20k if possible, definitely under $25k. (Raw price, not necessarily counting taxes and all that stuff.)
  • All Wheel Drive preferred, but not an absolute requirement. (Once upon a time, I used to go on driving adventures which were really a bit much for the Saturn, and AWD would have been helpful, but to be honest I haven’t done that stuff in almost a decade.)

Those of you who listened to the show know that Ivan’s top five he thought I should look at were the Honda Fit, Ford Focus and Fiesta, VW Golf and the Hyundai Alantra and that I should avoid Subaru, Suzuki, Mitsubishi and Mazda.

Well… I obviously didn’t quite take his advice (although I did consider it).

I ended up looking at the VW Golf, Honda Fit, Ford Focus, Mazda 3 and the Subaru Impreza. I was not impressed by any of them except the Impreza. The Honda Fit was probably second in my ranking of those that I looked at. But I liked the Impreza a lot more. Now, admittedly, I’d been eyeing the Impreza for probably the last year. (Before that I’d been thinking Subaru Outback, and before that I’d been thinking Mini Cooper, and before that who knows… that takes me back 5 or 6 years in my “what if my Saturn dies now” thought process.)

Anyway, after checking out all of them, and reading tons of stuff online about a bunch of them, I liked the 2012 Impreza a lot. It met all of my criteria. And I liked the looks of it. And a quick test drive on Sunday didn’t dissuade me.

I could have gotten a 2012 Impreza under my 20k goal, but of course I didn’t. I had to pick the model with all the bells and whistles and stuff, which ended up putting the MSRP just barely under my 25k limit. Brandy says this means I may have to give up my thoughts of an iPad 3 for Father’s Day, and give up various other things to not screw us budget wise. Sigh. Oh well. We’ll see how that works out.

They don’t have lots of these in stock yet, so I did a factory order. 6-8 weeks for delivery. So end of January or beginning of February. Unless by chance one with the exact same specs, colors and options as I ordered becomes available sooner.

Next up, a used car for Amy which is big enough to hold her double bass but is still relatively cheap and probably still has five or six years left in it before it dies. (I never thought I’d be the kind of parent who would get their kid a car within months of them turning 16, but oh my goodness it will make our daily logistics so much easier if all three of us can get to the places we need to get to independently without having to constantly coordinate schedules and commutes…) Amy will probably have her car within the next week or so, long before I get mine. But I get to drive it until she actually goes in to the DMV and passes her driving test to get her actual driver’s license instead of a permit.

Now I wait for my new car.

Goodbye Saturn, You Served Me Well!

Drove under its own power for the last time on Saturday. Confirmed permanently dead by the mechanic this morning. 15 years and 9 months old. It is a sad day! Sniff. :-(