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September 2017
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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!

Alex is EIGHT!!

Just a few minutes ago… at September 12th at 15:14 UTC (8:14 AM Pacific, 11:14 AM Eastern), Alex was exactly eight years old.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!!!!!

First of all, here is the traditional annual interview with Alex. As usual, he clams up and is not very talkative. But he goes along with the exercise anyway. Meaning he puts on a show of his non-answers to my questions. Or maybe he was answering in pantomime. In any case, here it is…

Now, a rundown of milestones from the last year. Each year of course the I provide less details, as it is more up to him to talk about himself. But I’ll allow myself a few highlights.

  • Alex’s YouTube channel is now up to 39 subscribers. Help him get to 50. Subscribe now!
  • Alex is now in second grade!
  • He got to see DanTDM live! Dan has dropped of his regular YouTuber watching rotation for the moment though. Every few months he seems to shift his favorite and spend lots of time watching as much of one YouTuber’s stuff as he can. His current one is Sqaishey Quack. There have been many others over the months though.
  • He loves his dog Miley. He is sometimes a bit rougher than he should be with her, but she loves him anyway, especially when they get to play in the surf at a local beach.
  • Alex is still a Minecraft wiz. He has some worlds that he has been working on for over two years. They are now very elaborate! He does both survival and creative mode depending what he feels like. The whole family plays together.
  • He has a best friend from 1st grade that we make sure to have playdates with at least once a month, more often when we can manage it. They run around the house chasing each other in between riding bikes and playing computer games. She hides a stuffed penguin to try to get him to do what she wants. But that doesn’t always work.
  • He goes on “adventures” with Grandma Ruth regularly and loves them. He usually prefers to just stay at home, but when she is coming for an adventure, he hurries to be ready and is super eager to go.
  • Alex and I went to a “family camp” together at Camp Seymour for a long weekend this summer. He fought and resisted and begged to go home almost the entire long weekend… in between the actual events. Whenever there was an activity… making home made stomp rockets, archery, swimming, nature walks, meals, camp fires, etc… he was fully engaged and having a great time. He said next year his sister Amy should go to Camp Seymour… instead of him. But he had a blast. So we shall see…
  • I’m pretty sure he is practically a grown up now given how big he is. But he is still reluctant to giving up occasionally being carried by Daddy. (And sometimes others in the family.) But I don’t know how much longer this will be possible. I can only do it for very short periods now.

As usual, there was certainly much more. But this is enough.

Happy birthday Alex!!!

Newly Minted Second Grader

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Something that Scary

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam and Ivan talk about North Korea, that Google document, Venezuela, the raid on Manafort, the latest from Trump, a book Sam read, and more! Oh, and we announce a Slack for the show. Enjoy!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-08-11
Length this week – 1:39:50

  • (0:00:30-0:10:54) But First
    • Agenda
    • Show Slack
    • Tired and Sleepy
  • (0:12:41-0:40:05) North Korea
    • Fire and Fury
    • Bluffing
    • 25th Amendment
    • High Risk
    • Containment
    • Trump Engagement
  • (0:40:51-1:02:12) Google Doc
    • Lip Service
    • Distributions
    • Ivan’s Evolution
    • Should he have been fired?
    • What if this was external?
  • (1:03:33-1:39:30) Lightning Round
    • Venezuela
    • Book: Spam (2013)
    • Manafort Raid
    • Leaks and Infighting
    • Trump Statements
    • Divisions on the left
    • New download record

 

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.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Squeaky Chair

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan deviate from politics for a little while to talk some tech! Namely, Juicero, cord cutting, and Apple’s pro strategy. Of course after that they get back to the news and politics of the week… That would be Trump’s 100 day milestone, Trump’s tax plan, the budget deadline and Obama making money on speeches on the domestic side. Internationally they discuss tariffs on Canada, “The Wall”, and NAFTA. Along the way there are also some corrections, a milestone for this podcast, and Trump’s Big Red Button.

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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 1-Click Subscribe in iTunes
 View Podcast in iTunes
 View Raw Podcast Feed
Download MP3 File
Follow the podcast on Facebook
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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-04-28
Length this week – 1:52:35

  • 0:01:13-0:14:28 But First
    • Agenda
    • Corrections
    • Milestone
  • 0:15:08-0:55:28 Tech
    • Juciero
    • Cord Cutting Update
    • Apple Pro Strategy
  • 0:56:36-1:33:39 Domestic
    • 100 Days of Trump
    • Tax Plan
    • Budget Deadline
    • Obama Speeches
  • 1:34:55-1:52:14 International
    • Canadian Tariffs
    • The Wall
    • NAFTA
    • North Korea
    • Electoral Maps
    • Big Red Button

 

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.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Not a Round Number

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner Ivan is back, joining Sam to talk about the issues of the day. On the agenda… Russia, Russia, Russia… for some reason Russia keeps coming up when we talk about Trump. Also, the disfunction and incompetence in the Trump administration have been on display again, and they spend some time talking about the ramifications to Trump and the rest of the Republicans. And they celebrate an anniversary… sorta! Oh, yeah, and Ivan’s voice was going, so he sounds like a frog. Enjoy!

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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 1-Click Subscribe in iTunes
 View Podcast in iTunes
 View Raw Podcast Feed
Download MP3 File
Follow the podcast on Facebook
patreon-30x30 Support us on Patreon

Show Details:

Recorded 2017-02-18
Length this week – 2:09:09

  • (0:00:00-0:08:13) Retrospective
  • (0:08:30-0:23:36) But First
    • Sick Ivan
    • GPS Mishap
    • Milestone
  • (0:24:51-1:08:05) Russia Russia Russia
    • Mike Flynn
    • Broader Russia contacts
    • The craziest conspiracy theories
    • Trump approach to Russia
  • (1:09:25-2:08:50) Incompetence
    • List of fails
    • Agenda stalled
    • Republican tradeoffs
    • What if Trump was liberal?
    • Weak ineffective Trump?
    • 25th Amendment math
    • Trump pool
    • Unhinged presser

 

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.

Amy is TWENTY ONE!!!

photo-oct-20-03-51-16

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!

Alex is SEVEN!!

As this posts at September 12th at 9:20 UTC (2:20 AM Pacific, 5:20 AM Eastern), Alex will be exactly seven years old.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!!!!!

First of all, as is traditional, here is the birthday interview with Alex. Also as is traditional, he is fairly uncooperative. At least when talking to me. Once our dog Miley joins us, he talks to her a bit about the prospect of getting older. And yes, Alex is wearing my pants. The whole thing is about 12 minutes long. Sorry, I didn’t have time to edit at all this year, so it is straight off the phone. There isn’t any expectation that anyone but family will actually watch, and really, probably they won’t either. :-)

Now, my rundown of the last year’s goings on. As he gets older, I’m including less detail, and leaving out some things, as he’s starting to determine on his own what he wants to talk about online. But the main bits…

  • For Kindergarten Alex split the days. In the morning he would go to the Montessori where he had gone the previous couple of years. In the afternoons he would go to the local public elementary school. The idea was to give him time to get used to the public school before jumping in full time for 1st grade. I was dubious of this strategy at first, but I think it actually worked out well. Alex liked both schools, but by the end of the school year, he was clearly ready to move on and go to the elementary school full time.
  • Most of the time with these split days, Grandma Ruth would transport Alex from one school to the other in the middle of the day, and spend the afternoon with him after school. They would sometimes just play at her house or ours, but sometimes they would go on adventures to do various things together. Alex enjoyed this quite a bit.
  • Alex still plays Minecraft quite a lot, but his video game repertoire has increased. He has rediscovered Portal, Portal 2, and Portal 2 Community Test Chambers, all of which he had played when he was much younger, but now he is doing almost all of it himself, when he feels like it. His other favorites are Roblox, Terraria, and Castle Crashers. He also plays a bunch of other things though, and is willing to try new things.
  • He hasn’t watched a traditional TV show in many many months, and then only reluctantly. His media consumption is basically 100% YouTube. And 90% of that are his two favorites, Stampycat and DanTDM, rounded out by a smattering of other YouTubers.
  • Combining these two interests, at the end of February he launched his own YouTube channel (with a little help from Dad). You can find it at ALeXMXeLA.com. He spends hours each week producing content for the channel. His tagline is: “Elementary school by day, YouTube by Night.” Most of the videos are gaming videos, but he occasionally branches out and does content on plants, math, bikes, or other things he is interested in. He is slowly learning video editing skills to improve what he does. At the moment I am the bottleneck, as I am still watching them and pushing them out as I have time, which isn’t as often as I would like at the moment. As of this moment, there are 111 episodes on his channel…  but earlier tonight he finished recording the 270th episode. Doing the math, that means he is averaging making about 9.4 new videos each week but I am only posting 3.9 videos each week. Obviously something needs to change there… I am just way way horribly behind in getting them posted. Anyway, please go check it out, please watch his videos, and SUBSCRIBE. He has 25 subscribers right now, but has big plans for when he hits 100 subscribers!
  • Oh, he has a business card for his channel. If you don’t have one and want one, just let me know, I’ll get one to you.
  • Over the summer Alex went to a Taekwondo camp. He didn’t really seem to participate all that much, but he seemed to enjoy it and would come home talking about it. He also went to the YMCA for a couple weeks of the summer. He didn’t really like that at all. The Taekwondo camp usually had less than 10 kids. The Y probably had 50+. He was much happier with the smaller group. Within the first few days he had kids at the Taekwondo camp watching his videos and subscribing to his channel.
  • He loves his dog Miley and harasses her constantly. Most of the time she seems to appreciate it. If only he would be better at recognizing when she doesn’t…
  • He has plans to convert our house into some sort of store. I’m not sure exactly how that will work…
  • Before this year he was clearly reading, but also clearly did not really want to, and so would resist letting us know that he could read if he could avoid it. Sometime in the last year that snapped, and he started reminding us that he could read when we were silly enough to read something out loud to him. He still is not a particular fan of books (although he will read them with Grandma Ruth!), but he is reading things on screens constantly, as well as signs and instructions and the like. And he is no longer hiding it, but actually seems proud of it.
  • He is into coloring, not the kids kind, but the grown up coloring books that are all the rage now, with all sorts of detail and fancy patterns, using artist grade colored pencils of course. Pretty sure he thinks he is too good for crayons now. :-)
  • It has only been a few days, but he is a first grader now! That is just incredible. He’s at or above grade level in everything academically, although the social stuff is a bit of a struggle. That’ll be something to keep working on… but hey, I struggle with that to this day. :-)
  • He likes to help with gardening and plants and such.
  • He is growing fast. He is just huge. Well, I’m comparing to when he was two of course, but it seems like every time we turn around he is an inch or two taller. But I guess that comes with the territory of being seven. :-)
  • He makes up elaborate illustrated books telling stories about the family. Most of these have been “Mom and Amy Epic” and sequels to that. These follow Brandy and Amy as they go through adventures inside video games.

OK, as usual, I’m sure there is much more, but that is enough.

Happy birthday to Alex!

ALeXMXeLA Episode 100!!

We have just posted the 100th episode to Alex’s YouTube channel. You can watch above, or go to ALeXMXeLA.com to subscribe. He decided not to do anything special for the 100th episode other than continuing to play through the Portal 2 Community Test Chamber series called “Into the Multiverse” that we were in the middle of. You can watch all of our play through of this series that has been published so far here.

He continues to record new episodes faster than I have been able to push them out to YouTube. Episode 100 was recorded way back on May 29th. The most recent episode, recorded this Tuesday, will be Episode 240 when I eventually get around to getting it posted…

He has 25 subscribers now and is very serious about his channel. He may only be six, but he knows what he wants!

Subscribe and tell your friends to subscribe too! :-)