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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February 2004
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Lower MakeFire

Brandy wanted to blog this one, so here’s Brandy

Fire on Aisle 7

Sam recently taught my 8 year old daughter to ride a bike. I know she was a bit old not to have known already, but she’s as stubborn as I am and REFUSED to do it until recently. So anyway, it’s like her favorite thing now. She is constantly needling Sam to take her bike riding. This time he gave in rather easily, grabbed his helmet, and out they went…only to come running back in quickly to tell me that the place was surrounded with news helicopters.

Cool. Wonder what’s happening. There were emergency vehicles directing traffic at a nearby intersection. Were the traffic lights out? Was there a big pile up right under the bridge? Checked the TV, but there was nothing, then checked the radio, thinking maybe there was a big accident on one of the other nearby highways but again, nothing. Strange. I went back into the kitchen to continue what I was doing and they went out to ride, after I promised to follow on foot as soon as I was done.

I went out to find them, and decided first to see what the guys at the corner were doing, and there were a LOT of people walking around, which seemed really kind of strange, but it WAS a nice day. But then I realized…the cops were blocking traffic from coming in OUR direction. That wouldn’t be happening if there was an accident on the highway. Curiouser and curiouser. I turned to go back and find the bikers and there it was. Right next to the condo development. Billows of smoke, fire engines, an ambulance. Something big was going down RIGHT NEXT DOOR! I just HAD to check it out! Fortunately, Sam and Amy rode up just then, so I diverted them around the corner, biting my tongue and NOT mentioning anything about Sam misssing what was DIRECTLY under his nose (because it’s not like that has ever hapened before). And off we went to watch it burn. Burn, baby, burn! Lots of smoke. Men in uniform. Pretty fire. I like fire. Fire nice…

We watched for a while, actually stood by one of the cart corrals for a little while, and watched the firemen spray away. We took some pictures, since I had the camera to take pictures of Amy riding. There was this “do not cross” tape, but no one seemed to be paying attention, so why should we, right? But then Amy rode her bike right into a tree and the battery in the camera died, so we decided to go back.

I feel kinda bad now, because the last time I went by that store I thought, we should go there next time instead of the Giant. Probably should have done that BEFORE it burned down.

Oops.

Bucks supermarket ravaged by ferocious fire
(Dave Sommers, The Trentonian)

An upscale supermarket known for its distinct selection of foods was destroyed in a spectacular blaze yesterday when a fire that started in nearby shrubbery spread up the building’s outer wall and eventually consumed the entire structure.

Officials said McCaffrey’s Supermarket, one of two anchor stores at the Edgewood Village Shopping Center on Heacock Road, will likely be declared a total loss once investigators get inside and survey the damage.

Police said nearly 200 people were inside the store at around 4 p.m. when some outside bushes and leaves near the building’s southern wall somehow ignited and quickly went up in flames.

2003 Q3 Random Vacation – Day 6 Posted!

Day 6 of the last random trip is now posted! Enjoy!

2003 Q3 Random Vacation – Day 6

The officer came back to the car and said “Well sirs, I was going to give you all a ticket, but I seem to have lost my pen.”

Marilyn said “I think I have one!” and immediately proceeded to search for a pen in her purse.

The officer rolled his eyes and say “You may not have heard me… I *think* I *forgot* my pen!

For those following along, we’re getting to the home stretch. Current status:

Days @, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: Posted
Days 7, 8: Waiting for comments from Marilyn and Chad
Day 9: Done, waiting to post in order

So anyway, should be all out soon, then I can pick the next spot!

2003 Q3 Random Vacation – Day 5 Posted!

Day 5 is finally posted! We are making rapid progress now!

2003 Q3 Random Vacation – Day 5

First thing, check the GPS.  Altitude…  5957 feet.  I had been at 9165 feet at the top.  This means that I had done a vertical climb of 3208 feet!  Plus a lot of horizontal distance too.  And then back down again!  Go me!  That was a LOT of hiking for Sam!

Status of the whole thing right now:

Days @, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: Posted
Day 6: All comments received, being prepared for posting
Days 7, 8: Awaiting comments from Marilyn and Chad
Day 9: Finished, waiting to be posted in order

We’ll have this thing finished soon! Promise!

Skittles Too

This morning I noticed that while nowhere near as bad as Cheese, Skittles had hurt her foot too. Was limping a little bit. So made another trip to the vet. Skittles had a little cut and was a bit bruised. Got some anitbiotics for both birds. Will take them BOTH in for follow up in two weeks.

They are both acting basically normal and happy, but both have hurt feet.

Poor little birdies!

Still have no freakin idea how they did it.

Cheese Emergency

This morning as I was sitting in my bedroom, I looked over at Cheese and Skittle’s cage. They had not been making noise or anything, but the perch was suddenly bright scarlet instead of the normal wood color. I went over. It was clear that one of them was bleeding. A *lot*. I banged on the bathroom door where Brandy was taking a bath, and while she was getting out I determined that while they both had some blood on them, it looked like it was Cheese that was bleeding. From his foot.

I was completely freaking out. I caught Zuri and put her in her cage right away. Zuri had been checking out the little birds, and there was at least a chance that Zuri had bitten Cheese. Brandy doesn’t think so though, because for the most part Zuri harrasses the little birds and looks in, but doesn’t try to grab them or anything, plus they just step a couple steps away from the side and Zuri can’t reach them. Or Cheese could have just caught it on something on the cage. It happens. No way to tell. Whatever it was, the bird hadn’t screamed…. I was in the room, I heard nothing. Just looked up and saw blood. :-(

Brandy caught cheese and first told me to get some kind of funky pencil that I had never heard of, must less had, then toilet paper. While she was trying to find the wound on Cheese and start applying pressure, I caught Skittles just to triple check Skittles wasn’t injured too. Skittles seemed fine.

While Brandy was applying pressure to try to stop the bleeding, we called the local bird vert and they told us to come right in. We got Cheese into a little box full of toilet paper and started rushing to the vet. I was so scattered, Brandy was afraid I was going to run over her as she was getting in the car.

Cheese was still bleeding in the box. It was his left foot for sure. We got to the vet and it seemed like forever doing paper work and then waiting for the vet. And Cheese was starting to get sleepy. We were trying to keep her awake. Budgies don’t have very much blood to begin with, and Cheese had lost a lot. Birds in this kind of situation often bleed to death. Brandy wispered to me that she didn’t think Cheese was going to make it.

The vet confirmed that the foot was cut open. Pretty badly. Not just that. The bone was broken.

The vet first gave Cheese intravenous fluids to counter the blood loss. The needle was practically bigger than the bird. The vet tech held Cheese’s head and pulled the feathers back, and the vet injected a whole bunch of saline.

Then he took little tiny pieces of surgical tape and splinted up the toe that was broken and wrapped it tight. Both to prevent any more bleeding, and to set the broken bone.

The vet said that Brandy had done good stopping or slowing down most of the bleeding, and the fluids and split should be enough, and that Cheese should recover. The splint needs to stay on for two weeks. For now Cheese needs to be in a seperate cage, although he should be back to himself in a couple days. In the mean time, he’ll probably be really quiet compared to normal.

On the way out as I was paying the $90 for the vet visit, Brandy talked to Cheese: “You are one lucky bird you know, that is four times more than you cost!”. :-)

We took Cheese home, stopping on the way to get a mini cage where he could hang out seperately, but not have too much room to get rambunctious.

Anyway, everybody is home now. I was very worried and had to work hard to keep it together for awhile, and sort of collapsed as soon as I got home. But it looks like Cheese is going to be OK. If we can just keep him from eating the splint on his foot.

Whew!

Pets, People, Pictures

As I sent out blog entries over the past few months announcing the new pets and such, a lot of people asked for pictures. For completeness I thought I’d just show everybody currently in the household as it were. So here is a quick look at everybody.

Pets and People

(Minter vs Page) and Mathematics

My father’s site is apperantly getting some attention. One of his posts was talked about in comparison with a Clarence Page piece in the Washington Times. The person doing the comparison was a Professor from Indiana University in an opinion piece in the Indianapolis Star.

A link between reparations, forgiving African debt
(Philip Rutledge, Indianapolis Star)

A few days later, William Minter’s somewhat crusading AfricaFocus Bulletin (africafocus@igc.org) arrived, with the headline, “Africa: Who Owes Whom?” In addition to Minter’s own analysis of the debt situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the electronic Bulletin reposts extensive material from the Web site of the American Friends Service Committee (www.afsc.org/africa-debt) and other sources, painting a sordid picture of “odious debt” and alleged misdeeds by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, with some myopia by U.S. officials.

(via AfricaFocus)

The article where my father mentioned the editorial, is also interesting, highlighting some arward winning Internet efforts coming out of Africa, where Internet penetration is still far less than in other parts of the world. My favorite part of the article are actually the added notes on the Botswanan Basket Weavers, where the patterns are linked to Mathematics!

Africa: Internet Creativity
(AfricaFocus)

The intricacy of the patterns are illustrative of a subject that also well represented in sources on the web: the history of mathematics in Africa. See, among the many sources:

(1) African Mathematical Union, Commission for the History of Mathematics in Africa
http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/AMU/amuchma_online.html

(2) Plaited strip patterns on Tonga handbags in Inhambane (Mozambique), by Paulus Gerdes
http://www.mi.sanu.ac.yu/vismath/gerdtonga
Non-mathematicians can enjoy the patterns and skip the math.

(3) Review of Women, Art, and Geometry in Southern Africa, by Paulus Gerdes
http://www.maa.org/reviews/wagsa.html

My father and I do have *some* interests in common you know. :-)

Primary Methods

An interesting thing is going on in Washington State right now. Due to court orders invalidating the system they have used in the past, they are redesigning the process used to pick candidates for various state elections.

Third option pitched for new state primary system
(David Ammons, Associated Press on Seattle PI)

The latter approach, strongly backed by Secretary of State Sam Reed, has been dubbed the “Top Two” plan, or a modified blanket primary. It would allow the top two vote-getters for each office to advance to the November runoff.

I really like this system. Basically, anybody of any party (or no party) who meets a minimum criterea that is the same for everybody appears on an initial primary ballot. Then the top two vote getters (and only the top two) appear in the general election, which effectively becomes a run off. The top two could be of the same party, or of different parties. Doesn’t matter. Some see this as a downside, I see it as a positive. It makes the process completely independant of the parties. It takes them away from the priveledged position they have occupied, and puts them back into the position of being private organizations that happen to push candidates, rather than semi-official governmentally recognized units. All the better.

Now, it still isn’t as good as a proper preferencial voting system whereby when people vote they don’t just pick one person, but instead rank all the candidates in order by preference, and then sequential runoffs are held automatically knocking off one candidate at a time until the winner is choosen… That would give much better results, but is typically considered too complicated for the average voter and will never happen.

The kind of setup being proposed in Washington (and already used in some places I believe) is the next best thing. I hope it happens!

Brandy Day

The silly calandars we use would have the anniverary being yesterday. But that doesn’t properly take into account of how leap years affect things, or the non-integer number of days in a year. So according to my calculations, it was ACTUALLY this morning at 05:51:45 UTC (12:51:45 AM Eastern Time) that Brandy was an even number of years old. I shall refrain from mentioning the exact number of years.

In any case, Brandy just passed a birthday milestone TODAY, and she is kind of bummed because she is under doctors orders to stay in bed for four days straight because her back is acting up. So we were not able to go out or do anything fun for her birthday. And I messed it up more by running out with Amy to buy presents… which took way longer than I thought it would… so therefore she was home alone stuck in bed for longer than she should have been. My fault, my bad.

Anyway, since she is all stuck in bed and bored out of her mind and such, email Brandy and wish her happy birthday and keep her entertained and stuff.

[Edit: Fixed a typo in Brandy’s email address as per Al’s comment. Thanks Al!]

2003 Q3 Random Vacation – Day 4 Posted!

At long last, another day of the 2003 Q3 vacation is complete and posted. I know a lot of you had almost given up and stopped asking, but here it is. Enjoy!

2003 Q3 Random Vacation – Day 4

Right about then, I was looking up and saw a HUGE fireball go by over head. Not just a shooting star, but a big blazing fireball.

I got excited and tried to point it out to Chad and my arm darted out to point…

And I slapped Chad hard on the back of his head.

Oops.

OK, for those wondering what the hold up is, here is the current status:

Days @, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4: Posted
Days 5, 6, 7, 8: Waiting for Marilyn’s Comments
Day 9: Done, just waiting for the other days to be done first

So, everybody, please feel free to bug Marilyn to tell her to just spend a few minutes a day and get her part done, so this thing can be posted and we can get on to picking the next random vacation!!!