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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September 2004
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Tiny Rodents in a Storm

Awww… poor baby squirrels!

Couple Care for Wildlife After Hurricanes
(Amanda Onion, ABC News)

Part of the squirrels’ misfortune lies in the fact that most squirrel species have young around the peak of hurricane season — in late August and early September. Since the animals usually nest in trees, their homes are vulnerable to the strong winds of a hurricane. When trees are downed, the young squirrels are left homeless, shivering in the cold and separated from their parents.

(via Fark)

Dangerous World

Gone for a few months, and look what happens! The number of countries with State Department Travel Warnings skyrockets! From 25 to 29!

State Department Travel Warnings Over Time

Of course, looks like these four were all added in the last 2 weeks, and looks like they are all hurricane related. No countries were dropped from the list. The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos were added on September 1st for Hurricane Frances. Cuba and Grenada were added on September 9th for Hurricane Ivan. Given the nature of these warnings, I expect the SDTW Index to drop back to the normal level of around 25 in a few weeks absent other developments.

Darkflash: Moving Part I

With this post I’ll start a series of posts putting up things I sent as email while my blog was down that I probably would have blogged if my blog was up at the time. I’ll do these occationally until I catch up with the present. No promises on a schedule.

This first one was sent to friends and family 11 Jul 2004 15:50 UTC:

Um, OK, lets see…

Here is a short recap…

After the last time I returned to PA on a Friday night (June 12), the idea was to start packing and such right away, have one week to do all the packing, pick up the truck on the next Saturday (June 19), leave PA on Monday morning (June 21), be back in FL Tuesday night (June 22), return the truck Wednesday night (June 23), and be back at work on Thursday (June 24).

That didn’t happen.

Around Tuesday June 15th my computer broke. I took it to the Apple store in Orlando, but they said they could not have it fixed before I left town. So I decided to take it to an Apple store in PA.

But I needed to do bills and get some other things done on my computer before taking it in. (By doing some voodoo I could sometimes get it to work.) So Saturday the 13th I did all that kind of stuff. Plus there was a fair in town that Brandy really wanted to go to. So we ended up doing that. No packing.

Then Sunday the 11th we took it to the Apple Store in King of Prussia, PA. But the guy there (unlike the guy at the Orlando Apple Store) was a complete asshole to us. So we ended up just leaving. Then when I left there the machine would no longer turn on at all.

Monday the 14th we had to deal with getting Brandy’s cars fixed up so they could travel. They needed things like tires and brake work and some work on some other things. So we ran around on that stuff.

Tuesday the 15th I took my computer to the Apple Store in Edison, NJ. They said they should be able to have it fixed by that Saturday. Woo.

Wednesday I don’t remember what I did, but I wasn’t productive.

Thursday I finally started packing. Did that Friday too. I was working mostly in the basement, packing up the hundreds of boxes of stuff I just move from place to place but never actually open. Not just the email archive, but also my homework assignments from 3rd grade and stuff like that.

I did prune the 1980’s era collection of full bottles and cans of cocacola down to about 25% of its original size. And I threw away a bunch of stuff. But no papers. Papers will never be thrown away. I did throw away some jars full of laundry lint, used kleenex and hair though. (Not all of them though of course.)

Meanwhile all that week Brandy had been working on packing stuff upstairs that we actually use, and stuff from her own house. (Although from Thursday on it was all my place.) She was much more productive than I was.

Saturday we were supposed to pick up the 24′ U-Haul. But they did not have one. Starting Friday night they kept saying things like “don’t call us, we’ll call you when we have a truck”. Sunday morning Brandy yelled at them and they got us a truck.

So around noon Sunday (this is the 20th now) we went to U-Haul. They said they didn’t have a 24′, but they would give us a 26′ they had at no extra charge. So we got all that set up, signed the papers, and were walking out to the truck. But it was blocked in, so Brandy went back in to tell them.

Several minutes later I go in. Brandy has discovered that while we wanted a 24′ and were being given a 26′ Diesel because there were not any, the people after us in line wanted a 26′ Diesel because they were towing a car, but were being given a 24′ non-Diesel because they had no 26′ truck. Uh… something wrong there. So Brandy had offered to switch with them. The U-Haul guy was redoing the paperwork. He got the other people all set, then was working on me.

But now the $2200 charge would not go through on my credit card. Because he had to cancel the first truck, then charge the new truck. And the cancels do not take place immediately. And I had made sure I had funds to pay for ONE truck, but not two. He kept trying and failing and called the number to talk directly to them, but no luck. He told me I had to call my bank. (And by the way, this was the ONLY one of my cards that I could have done this on at the time, none of the rest could have handled the charge… normally some of them should have been able to, but none could have at the time…) Anyway, I after several phone calls and lots of time on hold, I got all the U-Haul charges cleared off and verified my balance to make sure I had enough. So I had him tried again.

Failed.

I call the bank back. Turns out because the guy had tried several times to run the charge, the automatic security features had kicked in, and fraud protection was in effect. The end result… I could now use my card any place in the world EXCEPT U-HAUL!!!! Which was the one place I needed it!!!! They said the security office that handled such things was closed for the weekend, and I’d have to call Monday to get it cleared, and there was nothing they could do to help me in the mean time.

Bastards.

Turns out though that there would be no problem with a check, and U-Haul would accept a personal check. So we went back home, and luckily Brandy knew where my checkbook was (I thought it had probably been packed already, but it hadn’t been.) And back we went, wrote a check, and finally we had our truck… about 4 hours after we had the FIRST truck and almost left.

Meanwhile, we were a day and a half behind schedule already. But we finally started loading.

We ended up getting help just from my friend Jon (his wife and some came for awhile too). And there was still lots of packing to do, and we had to disassemble some things (including removing doors from the refrigerator) to get things out and too the truck. Jon came three or four times over the days we were working. We ended up taking about four days to fully load the truck.

And then it was so full that there would clearly not be enough space for all the stuff Brandy wanted to bring from her house.

Oh, and I forgot the shellac. But this email is long enough for now. I’ll continue sometime later and talk about the shellac and then the days at Brandy’s house, then the drive down… etc. Fun stuff.

I’ll have to save these to blog once I get my site back up too.