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



May 2024

Pics from Apr 2014

April was difficult. Started out with 979 pictures for the month. Narrowed down to 77 in the first pass through looking for pictures worth posting. Then had to narrow it down to 30 (one per day) for this post. The last cull was tough! Anyway, here goes…

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 19.50.17407

2014-04-02 02:01 – Alex riding his bike, for real!


2014-04-06 21:58 – Goggle selfie


2014-04-12 07:39 – Roscoe cuddles up to sleep


2014-04-19 21:57 – Amy (and Alex) at the Space Needle


2014-04-19 21:58 – Alex conspiring with Cousin Lev


2014-04-19 22:58 – Still conspiring, now under Alex’s new umbrella, under watchful adult eyes


2014-04-19 23:51 – Walking with Grandma Ruth


2014-04-20 00:02 – The Seattle Great Wheel


2014-04-20 00:12 – Cousin Seth was there too


2014-04-20 00:?? (picture by my mom) – Sitting with Daddy in the wheel


2014-04-20 00:26 – But I was less interesting than Cousin Lev


2014-04-20 00:?? (picture by my mom) – Lev had a good view out the window


2014-04-20 00:37 – Back on the ground, Lev and Alex continued to stick together as much as they could.


2014-04-20 03:26 – Having said goodbye to the cousins, walking back toward the car past EPM/SFM


2014-04-20 03:31 – Alex runs within the “Glass Blades” sculpture.


2014-04-20 21:56 – And then there was an Easter egg hunt at my mother’s college roommate’s house!

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 18.13.14896

2014-04-20 22:02 (screenshot from a video) – Alex even had Amy climb a tree to get an egg!


2014-04-20 22:04 (posted previously) – It was great fun. There was running.


2014-04-20 22:10 – And climbing.


2014-04-20 22:40 – And of course the counting of the loot.


2014-04-22 22:34 – Another day, and it is a trip to a park.


2014-04-22 22:27 (Animated GIF assembled by Google+ Autoawesome) – A park with trains!!


2014-04-22 22:34 – A park with a beach and logs to sit on with Grandma Ruth!


2014-04-22 22:36 – Alex looks over the beach


2014-04-22 22:42 – It was a pretty beach


2014-04-22 22:43 – Alex got brave and dipped his feet in the water


2014-04-22 22:46 – Grandma Ruth and Alex examined things other people had drawn on the sand


2014-04-22 22:48 – But then there was another train!


2014-04-22 22:55 – A panorama of Alex and Grandma Ruth on the beach. (Click it to enbiggen.)


2014-04-27 23:47 – And to finish off the month, Alex running with Roscoe :-)

Edited 23:00 to fix typo.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Just a Stranger on the Bus

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Mozilla CEO / Rice and Dropbox
  • Taking the Bus and Train
  • San Francisco Class War
  • Ukraine Again / Google / Solar Power

Recorded on 17 Apr 2014

Length this week – 1:38:04

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Curmudgeon’s Corner: Except When You Do

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam, Ivan and Alex talk about:

  • Facebook Ads / Weather / Locks / Low End Android / Unreliable Software
  • Things we aren’t talking about / Media Realignment
  • anti-Snowden Campaign
  • Obama NSA Reforms / Trains

Recorded on 22 Jan 2014

Length this week – 1:36:13

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Curmudgeon’s Corner: The Kids are Alright

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam, Ivan and Alex talk about:

  • Daylight Saving Time
  • Devices on Planes / Climate Change
  • Alex Train Interlude
  • Climate Change Continued
  • Kids and Tech

Recorded on 5 Nov 2013

Length this week – 1:09:36

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Donaghy/Minter/Roney Halloween 2013

Alex had been insisting for weeks that he did NOT want to wear any costumes for Halloween, and he did NOT want to Trick or Treat. But we took his old Thomas costume from last year to school with him anyway, and right at the end of school, when I was picking him up, when a teacher asked he finally agreed to put on the costume, and was immediately happy with the positive comments he got.


But that was not the real event. When we got home, Alex went in to play with his trains, but Amy got to work decorating the house. (While I cleared away things that needed to be cleared away.) Amy made a little graveyard:


And I put out a handful of Halloweeny metal things:


And Amy finished up the porch:


But then was the main event…

On the 30th, when we were asking if he was sure he did not want to dress up, and if he was sure he would not want to trick or treat, Alex suddenly remembered something from many many months ago. It may have last been mentioned in the summer, but I’m pretty sure it originated last Halloween. Alex suddenly got very upset, because Mommy had said she would make a train out of his wagon, but she hadn’t done it.

So… that night, Brandy stayed up late with a bit of cardboard, tape, poster board and a utility light we had hanging around… and during the day picked up some appropriate clothes… and…


Alex had kept his reluctance to dress up or trick or treat until the first kids showed up at our door. Then he urgently wanted to get into the conductor’s outfit and get into his new train, and go out into the neighborhood. He was excited and thrilled.

Of course, he spent most of the time hunkered down and hiding a little:


The first few houses he absolutely refused to get out of the train. He had me ring the bells, then peeked out of the train when the people came out with candy. He got lots of complements on the train though, and eventually he worked up the courage to ring the bell himself.


After just a couple more houses though, and maybe a total of 20 minutes trick or treating, Alex was ready to go home. When we got there, it turned out Amy had added more light to our driveway to entice people in.

(Picture by Amy)

Amy had been giving out candy and glow sticks and rings that light up while dressed in her bunny suit:


Right about then, we suddenly had quite a line… more than you can see in this picture. Alex just wanted to sit in his train and watch them come and go.


I had forgotten to wear a costume up to this point, but this was a good time to grab one I’d found in the garage a few hours earlier. Alex fended me off with some of the candy he had acquired.

(Picture by Amy)

At some point Amy handed over candy distributer duties to Alex.


But he was getting chilly, so…


Alex would peek out when new people came by, while letting me distribute the goodies.

Meanwhile, he was in his train under the blanket gorging himself on candy.

It was a good Halloween.


Alex was very wired from all this of course. He was up for many hours. And very active. Finally, at about 1:30 AM, I got him to lie down with me in my office on his Thomas couch and watch a maneuver the Soyuz capsule was doing around the International Space station on NASA-TV. He likes learning about satellites and such, so he was enthralled… but 20 minutes or so of it finally did the trick…


Of course, then I stayed up to do this post. I need to be up in about four hours. Oops.

Hope everyone else had a good Halloween too! Goodnight! :-)

Curmudgeon’s Corner: No, No, No, It’s Not Working!

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Adoption / Groundings
  • Coffee / Snowden
  • Egypt / SFO Crash / Lac Megantic

Recorded on 9 Jul 2013

Length this week – 1:06:08

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Less Eventful 6th (UTC)

The day began with intense lego concentration:


Brandy played with Bananagrams:


Amy was more educational with the letter tiles:


Alex was still all about the Lego though:






Before leaving my office, we needed to take a mugshot:


Then we finally left the office and headed for the traditional trains. Alex saw the monorail:


But first we waited for the Seattle Streecar (previously known as the South Lake Union Trolley”):


Which was ridden with varying levels of interest:



We got off the train to look at a fountain:




If you look carefully, you’ll notice we left Alex’s backpack on the train.

Brandy called to make sure they knew it wasn’t a bomb. Then we made sure to catch the same train to go back, and retrieved the bag from the driver.


Then it was time to eat:


And monorail:


And running with sister at Seattle Center:


And there is the Space Needle!:


(Picture by Amy)

But eventually, kicking and screaming, it is time to start heading home:


One more monorail ride first of course:



And a trip to the bookstore:


Alex of course fell asleep on the car ride home. He almost made it. But not quite. Fell asleep and was sleep eating a rice crispy treat for awhile.

Then I put together my post about the 5th:


Later, once everyone was up again, Alex watched a portal walkthrough video while I got ready for my day:


A couple hours later he was still watching it. He had switched to the iPad, and hadn’t watched straight through, instead watching and re-watching parts he really liked. I’m not sure he has made it all the way through, but I know he has watched the ending a few times, and many of the parts in between. :-) He studies it very intently.


Finally, we headed out to the Apple store, because Amy’s phone had recently been acting up… and as she was getting ready to go to the Apple store for her genius appointment, she dropped the phone magnificently, and smashed its front, back and sides as bad as any smashed iPhone I’ve ever seen in person. So any chance of getting it replaced under warrantee because it was just acting odd went out the window. :-)

Anyway, on the way there, Alex fell asleep in the car…


And thus I spent the last couple hours of the 6th (and another hour or so of the 7th) sitting in the car with a sleeping Alex while Brandy and Amy took care of Amy’s phone and a few other things. Can’t say I was totally thrilled by this time in the car. But I did listen to a few podcasts and read a bit of my twitter and news feeds, so I guess that was OK.

Anyway, thus ended our two days of holiday fun.

Alex sings Alphabet Train


Alex sings along to one of his favorite videos: Alphabet Train.

(Video taken December 2nd)


Santa Train


On Saturday, we took a little trip into the mountains. (Photo above by Amy.)


We went so we could take Alex to ride on the Santa Express, run by the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad.


With his iPhone in one hand, and Mommy in the other, Alex was ready to go!


Amy was ready too!


They had these cool antique cars.


But Brandy wanted to sit in some less cool cars because the seats were more comfortable. Alex was not impressed.

OK, maybe that was me that was not impressed. I was bummed that the car we were in was less cool than the others, plus the windows were much dirtier making it basically impossible to take pictures out the window.


But that didn’t last all that long, because Amy discovered a place between the cars with the top half of a door open, so you could actually just essentially be outside with no window in the way. That was MUCH better.


There were lots of views like this.


Of course Amy took lots of pictures.


At this point, Alex had not yet been convinced to leave his seat. He just wanted to sit and watch Thomas the Tank Engine on his phone. But he was ON A TRAIN! So this would just not do.


So I insisted, and took Alex to the place he could look out. He was just tall enough to look out standing tiptoe. He barely left that spot again for the rest of the train ride.


There were of course more pretty views.


And some horsing around.


Much of the ride looked like this. With Alex and Amy together, checking out the views.


They really do have lots of fun together.


Then, as it was starting to get dark, the train made the first of several stops. The crew was investigating a problem. As we would soon find out, the generator that served the front half of the train was acting up…


But there were still some good views. This is looking back toward the steam engine that was pushing the train.


As it got darker, photography out the window becomes more impressionist.


But Alex maintained his vigil.


Then, suddenly, there was snow!

And then, and then… it was time for… SANTA!

Now, I was an idiot. Looking at the screen on my camera it seemed like it was just too dark, and the movie was going to come out without you being able to see anything. Now, obviously, it turns out you could see things just fine. But I panicked and cut the movie short and switched to stills with a flash. The video and stills from the video were much better than what I took after. And you could of course see how the whole thing played out. But I missed the second half because I stopped the video short. I missed the good part…

In the next few seconds, Alex actually did manage to have a short conversation with Santa, and got his courage up, and told Santa he liked trains. This was a big deal for him. He’d been talking about talking to Santa for weeks, and had chickened out several times. This time he managed it. Of course, I cut the video off too soon. (And frankly, I missed some of the actual event myself as I was fiddling with the camera instead of paying attention.)

Sigh! I can’t tell you just how annoyed I am at myself…

Anyway, back to the stills…


When he first sat down Alex was not too sure of this whole thing, and really just wanted to watch his show on his phone.

But then he turned up, he smiled, he almost laughed… you could see that part on the video.


He was actually getting almost comfortable as Santa asked him about what he liked and what he wanted for Christmas.


Alex accepted a candy cane from Santa, but told Santa he didn’t want a sticker.


Then it was right back to Alex’s favorite spot!


Of course, they never had fixed that generator. The last three cars on the train were in complete darkness, and with no heat. Oops. Of course, Alex and I were just hanging out between the cars without a window between us and the outside world anyway, so it didn’t make much of a difference to us. But it probably did to some of the other folk…


Then the train pulled back into the station…


And it was time to disembark…


With a final look back at our steam engine, it was time to go home.

Another big day for Alex. He was asleep long before we made it home. It was a good day.

And he made sure Santa knew he wanted trains for Christmas. Which is very important. Cause otherwise how would Santa know?

Day with Dad

Last Tuesday, there was a scheduling issue in the morning, and my only option to get to a morning doctor appointment on time was to take Alex with me instead of taking him to school. So we had a fun day…

He got a lollipop at the Doctor’s office. (Oh yeah, routine checkup, nothing exciting.)

Then he went to work with me, which was very exciting. He got an SES sticker.

He got a snack and got to look out the windows from the ninth floor at the traffic. This was fun and he spent quite a few minutes just looking out the window.

One of the things he saw was the “Purple Train“. He’s been asking to come ride the Purple Train since he first saw it months ago on a previous visit to the city. Once he saw the train, he was ready to go, and specifically wanted to go ride the train as soon as possible.

He had to wait through a couple hours of me working first though. Including going with me to a meeting with some coworkers. He was very good, sitting in the corner for most of the meeting playing with Lego.

I had told him that when the meeting was over we could leave and go ride the train. So as the meeting was breaking up, he makes a big gesture to all the people at the meeting and says “Me go ride purple train. You friends come ride purple train too?” My colleagues at the meeting politely declined his offer. But he thought it was important to invite them.

The streetcar actually comes in several colors. The green train came first, but Alex didn’t want to ride the green train, so we waited another 15 minutes or so for the purple train.

It was very exciting. We rode from one end of the line to the other. Then rather than just ride back on the same train, Alex wanted to get off. He wanted to wait to ride the green train back. But it was a bit chilly, and he was getting cold, so he settled for the red train. Half way through the ride back, we needed to stop for a potty break, so we ended up catching the green train for the last bit anyway. So three colors!

When we got back, he pointed out that the Monorail was right there too, and that we really should ride on that too. So after a quick stop for another snack, we got onboard the Monorail and headed to Seattle Center. Once there, instead of just getting right back on to head back, we decided to wander a little first.

An older man with a long Santa beard heard me talking to Alex about the train, and came over and mentioned that there was a model train exhibit right now in the Armory… about 100 feet from where we were standing. So…

Alex was enthralled. He stood and watched the trains. And watched the trains. And watched the trains.

And he watched and watched…

And then he realized that he could follow the trains! So he followed the trains around and around and around…

Until the man running the trains asked Alex if he wanted to come DRIVE one of the trains. Alex was a little unsure at first, but then when he realized what was going on, he bravely got up and listened carefully to the instructions.

And then he drove a train!! Alex got to drive for several minutes. It was very exciting.

After we were done, we rode the monorail back to the other end, and were going to head back to my office to get in my car and drive home, but Alex begged for one more ride on the purple train. So we waited for it (in the rain) and took one more ride. Except it was the green train.

It was a dark now though, and so a bit less to see. And Alex was getting tired.

Then one time when the train stopped Alex lost his balance and bumped his face on the chair in front of us. He wasn’t happy about that.

After a few more minutes, as the train was gliding along, Alex put his head down and fell asleep.

It was a good day.