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

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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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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! :-)

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Trumpmudgeons

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast most of the show is on all the crazy Trump news from the last week. There was a lot. Battles with Khan, complaints about debates and voter fraud, the baby incident, the non-endorsements… and much much more. Sam and Ivan cover all of it. But first they cover some of the other events in the world… Libya, Zika, Clinton’s email… and they celebrate a milestone for the show!

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

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Recorded 2016-08-04

Length this week – 1:52:18

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

Show Details:

  • (0:00:10-0:04:45) But First
    • Agenda
    • 100 Downloads!
  • (0:05:30-0:33:08) Everything Else
    • Libya Engagement
    • American Wars
    • Zika Response
    • Clinton Email Lie
    • Iran Cash
  • (0:33:46-0:53:32 ) Trumpity Trump Trump Part 1
    • Trump vs Khan
    • Trump on debates
    • Trump on voter fraud
    • Trump’s effect on GOP after a loss
  • (0:55:32-1:19:14 ) Trumpity Trump Trump Part 2
    • Trump and the Baby
    • Trump non-endorsements
    • Trump ignites GOP Civil War
    • Trump’s faithless elector
    • Trump dump?
  • (1:20:17-1:51:58) Trumpity Trump Trump Part 3
    • Trump University
    • Trump’s Purple Heart
    • Trump’s WaPo Interview
    • Trump and the Iran Video
    • Trump on nukes
    • Trump sanity
    • The GOP owns this
    • No more ticket splitting
    • I’m with her

Note: Timestamps are accurate, but many audio players are not very precise on the timestamps they show, especially when scanning forwards and backwards, so depending on your player, if you scan to a specific time, you may not get exactly what is shown above and may have to scan back or forward a bit to get what is expected.

 

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!

I Broke My Foot

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Lovely, huh? I was trying to do an obstacle course Alex had built in our driveway. I was on my bike. I fell. Crunched my foot between a wooden 4×4 and my bike. It wasn’t a hard fall, and at first I thought it was nothing and I would just get up and brush it off. That idea disappeared once I tried to stand up.

After a night of crawling slowly from room to room since I couldn’t stand or walk, and with even the crawling resulting in quite a bit of pain, Brandy made me go to the doctor. :-)

For now I have a boot on my left foot and I’ve got some crutches. I’ve been referred to an orthopedic office to see exactly what more they want to do with me.  Sounds like it will probably be more than just the boot. In the mean time, I’m hobbling around the house, but even going from room to room is a fairly big effort, and often quite painful. The doctor says no weight at all on the foot if I don’t want to make it worse, and that I need to minimize how much I’m up and around.

So I’m thinking I have lots of working from home in my immediate future, and probably quite a bit of time just in bed or on the couch.  Sounds like minimum 4 to 6 weeks to heal, possibly more.

Sigh.

But hey, at age 44 this is my first broken bone ever, so I guess I did pretty well…

Amy is TWENTY!!!

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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…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!!!

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”.]