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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Antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian

Every once in awhile, I google the word antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. So far, there has never been a single site on the web using this word, at least not that Google knows about. I was amazed at this fact! This word has been one of my favorites for many many years. So, given that it has not yet appeared on the web, let me be the one to introduce it. Woo! Let me tell you the story.

When I was a child, living in Durham North Carolina… this would have been before I was 9 years old as we were still at the apartment on Trinity Avenue… the first time… not after I came back from Indiana. I think it was during the era when I had pet brown snakes. But I’m not as sure about that.

In any case, my father would occationally clip articles from the paper he thought I would be interested in. One time, it was an article about long words. I’m not sure if it was from the local Durham paper, or from some other newspaper, or from an AP story… no idea. I don’t remember the exact text of the article, or even the point of the article. I think it mentioned a few words that often come up when people think of long words, like antidisestablishmentarianism. And it mentioned that some scientific terms can be quite long. But then it mentioned a word, quite possibly made up right then and there, I don’t know, that I would remember forever:

antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian – noun – Person who hates long words

I loved it!!! A long word that meant a person who hates long words! How could any word be more wonderful than that!!!

My father explained the parts of it to me. (Or perhaps the article did, I don’t remember.) Anti – against, hyper – many, syllabic – having syllables, sesqui- one and a half, pedal – having feet, ian – relating to or a person who is. So, literally interpreting the roots, it is a person who is against words having many syllables that are a foot and a half long. Or something like that. That is all from memory, I have not properly researched it or anything. The details could be wrong.

Anyway, it is a wonderful word, and I can’t believe it is not used more often!

At a page on long words at The Straight Dope I found references to a few other long words. First one that seems related, hippopotomonstrosesquipidelian, which supposedly just means long. I find it no where near as appealing as antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. Then the longest word in the original Oxford English Dictionary: floccinaucinihilipilification which is the classification of something as trivial. And the longerst word in the Oxford English Dictionary 2 which is the revised modern version of the work: neumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. And finally some scientific name of a specific protein which extends to 1913 letters which I shall not reproduce here.

Perhaps floccinaucinihilipilification comes close, but none of these have the same endearing quality as antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. Antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian is a word that deserves to thrive and prosper, not wither away in obscurity.

Use it. Use it as often as possible. You know you have been in situations where it is needed. At least once a week, without even thinking of it, I use a word that someone around me does not know. They look quizically at me and repeat the word, and I have to explain what I meant using more common words. Sometimes they say something about using SAT words, or how sometimes the plainer word is better. (When in fact I know that the word I used often better conveys the meaning I intended… if only they knew it!)

In those situations, take the opportunity. Ask them what is wrong with them, are they antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian?

Use it online too! I will be honored to be the first and only hit on the web for a Google search on antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian. But how much better would it be to revive the use of this word. Use antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian in your writings and on your blogs! Lets turn no results on Google to one result. Then two. Then hundreds! Hey, perhaps I will make a graph!

Long live the word antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian!!

(But don’t be an antihypersyllabicsesquipedalian yourself, OK?)

Inauguration, Whoever Wins

Hi all… those of you who have known me for a bit may know that for the last, um… 12 years or so… going on 16 years… I’ve had a little tradition. Regardless of who wins, I’ve attended every presidential inauguration since I have been able to vote. Not special seats up front or anything, no Inaugural balls, nothing like that. Just going out to the Mall in Washington and standing there with hundreds of thousands of other people and being a witness to the historical event… well, at least a witness to the broadcast of the historical event on jumbotrons set up all over the Mall, since you’re way to far away to see anything with your own eyes, or even binoculars. Except the protesters. It is always easy to see the protesters. Whoever loses never tends to be happy about it, so there are always protesters. And sometimes you can see a bit more in the parade after the inauguration. Sometimes.

Anyway, so far this has both Bill Clinton inaugurations, and the George W Bush inauguration. Each time I’ve had a slightly different group of people with me. I’m not 100% sure it will be practical this year, what with me now being in Florida, rather than in Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Jersey where I was for the last three. But…

I am going to try. Tentatively it looks like Brandy and Amy will join me if we can work out the details and plane fares. And we’ll probably spend a few days visiting other friends and relatives in the mid-Atlantic while we are there.

But does anybody else want to join us for the actual inauguration? Rebecca has attended the previous three with me, the only person to have been at all three with me, but she will not be able to make it this time. So, anybody else?

Just one catch… it is now one week before the election. You have to tell me that you want to go with me BEFORE the results of the election are known. None of this “I’ll go if my guy wins”. This is just to be an observer to a historical event that happens once every four years, not to show support for any one candidate or another.

So, anybody? Anybody?

It is always fun to see the event and watch the people who turn out (including the protesters). The weather often sucks, but hey, it is January in Washington. :-) Just dress warm!

Let me know if you are interested!!!

Brevard County Referendum 2

OK, first the text:

ENVIRONMENTALLY ENDANGERED LAND AND WATER AREAS BOND REFERENDUM

Shall Brevard County issue bonds to finance the acquisition, improvement and maintenance of environmentally endangered land and water areas for the protection of habitat, public open space, and water resources, and for providing passive recreational opportunities, provided the bonds do not exceed Sixty Million Dollars ($60,000,000) bearing interest not exceeding the maximum legal rate and maturing in twenty (20) years payable from the levy of ad valorem taxes not exceeding .2085 mills?

OK. This one is harder than the last few, because I have mixed feelings on this. The purpose of this is to provide funds toward the purchasing of “open space” land for public use and preservation rather than private development… typically more housing developments and shopping centers as the population of the county increases. Now, in general, I like the idea of preserving the land and parks are cool. And in the end nicer than a bunch more development. I like the idea of making sure a lot of land is set aside for those type of uses.

On the other hand, I’m being a bit hypocritical, having just moved here, but immediately saying essentially that I want to slow down the movement of more people here.

Also, there is the general notion of encouraging the government to buy and own property and land and such. Now, an absolutist on the Libertarian scale would say that government shouldn’t own anything at all, or perhaps just the bare minimum needed to operate. I am not an absolutist though. I think it is OK for government to own a few things. And it is probably an OK use of government resources to buy land for conservation. I would *prefer* that private interests who cared a lot about conservation do it instead. But as a poor second choice, I guess the government can do it. I’m not sure I feel 100% right about that though.

Finally though, there is the “how do you pay for it” issue. This is paying for it by issuing bonds… which is increasing the public debt. In general, although it is a very common practice in governement, and certainly by individuals… including myself… taking on debts for major purchases makes me nervous. What ever happened to pay as you go? Why not just allocate a portion of the annual budget toward saving for these things, and once every few years spend some on it. Or something like that. Only buy what you can actually pay for. Etc. Why accrue debt? OK. I know good reasons to do so sometimes. So the question becomes, is the county managing debt properly and keeping to managable reasonable amounts that just serve to spread the cost of major purchases out making things more predictable year to year, or are they doing like the Federal government and operating an ever increasing amount of debt that will cause problems down the road… So, I spent some time looking at last year’s Brevard County Budget. It looks like the budget is balanced, revenues are increasing year over year, etc. Sounds healthy. Looks like it could absorb the new debt.

I was initially going to vote against this simply because they were issuing bonds to do it rather than paying as they went. And because of my general uneasyness at government buying up land, no matter how good the purpose… but I think after looking at the budgets and everything else, I can overcome those concerns, and live with being hypocritical on being for development before I got here and against development after… in the long run, this will probably make for a better county. So here goes.

I will vote: FOR THE BONDS

Hmmm. That is a very weak yes though. I could still flip flop on this one. I’m right on the line.

Darkflash: Apple Cola

There will be a few more Darkflashes before I am done. Here is the next one. Originally sent to friends and family 4 Sep 2004 03:20:51 UTC.

So, we’re in Appalachacola, FL tonight.

After my last email in the morning Sonar from work (like Radar from MASH, but Sonar) met me to help put wood up. He had a few scraps left. But we didn’t have the right tools to secure to masonry. And the wood wasn’t the right sizes. And we didn’t have the right stuff to cut to size. But we did our best. Brandy went and got a jigsaw from the WalMart. They were out of circular saws. The front windows had some shutters that were mounted to wood that was already attached to the masonry. So we attached the wood we had to those mounts We used the shutters themselves, plus the plywood Sonar had brought. It was a bit patchwork, and probably not adequate, but it was better than nothing. The rest of the windows we had nothing we could use to mount plywood, so we put up some plastic sheeting with duct tape. Completely useless and would blow away in minutes if the duct tape itself would even stick. But hey, it was something.

Then after Sonar headed off, the neighbors woke up, and we went over and asked if they had any extra supplies. They didn’t at the moment, but would let us know if they ended up with any. A couple hours later, for $40, the neighbors had given us their extra plywood, masonry drill bits, and masonry anchors. At this point we were nearing the noon deadline we had given ourselves for leaving Melbourne. But we had a new supply of wood. So we decided to do what we could even if it meant leaving a few hours later. We ended up getting at least one piece of wood put up over each window. Not everything was covered because we had the wrong sizes. Enough wind and they would get blown right off because the wind would get in the gaps and pull it off. But it was the best we could do.

While we were putting up the last few pieces Ivan’s dad dropped by. He was in town to evacuate the elderly relative we are REALLY renting the house from. We talked for a bit and he wished us luck, and he was gone.

After Mr. Bou left we quickly finished putting up the rest of the wood, then filled our car with the essentials and the stuff that would be hardest to replace. At least the stuff that made the most sense to take. NO, we did not take the email archive. :-)

We tried to get a few things up off the floor and onto higher shelves in the house, moved some things toward the center of the house. Surrounded the fish tank with mattresses and put in a bunch of plants so they can go without electric.

Then we headed out around 4 PM. One car with me (human), Amy (human), Zuri (ringneck parakeet), Nacho (budgie), Skittles (budgie) and Cheese (budgie). The other car with Brandy (human), Princely (dog), Mike (skink) and Nala (anole).

We had decided to go back roads, because major roads were all jammed up with evacuation traffic. They kept saying so on TV and radio. We decided to just generally aim toward Tallahassee. Brandy has relatives there. She hadn’t seen them for years, and we didn’t really intend to stay with them or anything, but it was a direction. We also knew there were no free hotels (especially pet friendly ones) pretty much anywhere in the state of Florida. Well, there were some of course, but they were getting scarce. And the further we went the better shot we had. And most people seemed to be either heading North toward Georgia, or to Orlando (even though it was also in the path). So we thought we’d head west instead.

Anyway, the back roads idea was great. Worked wonderful. We hit almost no traffic. We were averaging over 50 mph almost the whole time. And we got to see all kinds of interesting scenery and small towns. And some of the way we even got to go on some awesome cool DIRT ROADS. You all know how I love that stuff. I had the GPS all loaded up with the maps for all of Florida (except Miami) and half of Georgia and the Gulf Coast out as far as Texas. It was worth it.

Twice we decided to “lets see what the main routes are like” and switched from “Shortest Distance, avoid highways” to “Quickest route, all roads OK”. Both times we ended up stuck in stop and go Interstate traffic never getting more than 20 mph. Both times we went one exit and immediately got back on back roads at the first possible opportunity. Those two times ended up killing almost two hours.

Around midnight were near Ocala. We saw a motel with vacancies. All the hotels anywhere near the interstate were fully booked. But a couple on the smaller routes were not. (On the same note, all the gas stations anywhere near the interstate were sold out of gas, but the gas stations off on the smaller routes were busy, and some had long lines, but still had gas… and the ones way off the path didn’t have lines even.) We did not stop and take a room when we saw the open motel. We probably should have. But we figured we still had energy to keep going, and if there were some with vacancies, we would probably find more later. And we didn’t know if the place was pet friendly. Although we could have asked. But we didn’t.

We kept going. Around 2 AM we were probably only another hour or two from Tallahassee. If that. But neither of us could keep our eyes open at all. At that point we were in the middle of nowhere. No motels or hotels within many miles. Let alone ones with vacancies. So we just found a closed gas station, pulled into their parking lot and took a nap for an hour. Then we kept going. But only for about an hour. We were still tired. So we drove to an open gas station with a 24 hour mini-mart and pulled into their back parking lot and took another nap. The parking lot was full of other evacuees doing the same thing. Basically slept from about 4 AM about 8 AM. Then we headed on the road again.

We re-aimed the GPS at New Orleans. Not because we have any actual intention of going that far, but just because it was a place to aim at. The plan was to drive until about noon, then take the first pet friendly motel that had vacancies that was along our path.

So, a few minutes after noon, we saw one seedy looking motel. We skipped that one. The next one we saw we stopped at, and sure enough, they were pet friendly. We checked into the “Rancho Inn” in Appalachacola, Florida. After getting the animals settled we went out in search of a few supplies we had forgotten and some food. Appalachacola has basically nothing. We didn’t really get anything we wanted. Although we did find a Subway to eat at (attached to a gas station) and we got Amy a DVD to watch (on the computer) from a drug store. and I got some extra OTC allergy meds since I’ll be sharing a hotel room with a dog for a few days. [Don’t worry, allergy meds are much better than they were a few years ago, I’ll be fine for a couple days.]

Then back to the hotel. Brandy and I took a nap right away. When we woke up, the Weather channel reporters were in Palm Bay, right where the house we have the offer on is. The track, which in the mornign had flipped south, had gone north again and was once again aiming at Melbourne. But it had dropped from a Cat 4 to a Cat 3 and now to a Cat 2. But it will be moving slowly, and so therefore even if it is only a Cat 2, there may be hurricane force wind and rain back at our place for many hours when it hits. Or maybe not. Still a lot of uncertainty. But there is still an expectation of lots of wind and rain and flooding. Meanwhile Appalachacola, which when we went to sleep was outside the cone of possible path, was now back inside it (barely). Although by the time it gets up here, it will probably just be a tropical depression. But still possible bad flooding up here.

After our naps, I decided to try to get online. I couldn’t get through on my cell to the 800 number for Earthlink to get a local dialup. So I asked Brandy to while she was walking the dog stop at the front desk to get long distance turned on, so I could dial the Melbourne dialup, grab the list of local numbers for here, then dial up locally. The lady at the front desk told Brandy that we REALLY didn’t want to get online that way, because long distance calls were $1.50 a minute here using the hotel phone. Ouch! Anyway, I’d ended up calling the Earthlink 800 number from the hotel phone and found out that there were no local numbers at all for Appalachacola.

I was getting quite frustrated at this time. I fired up my work laptop (that I happened to have AOL on) just to see if there were any AOL numbers where Earthlink had none. Slim chance I knew, but I thought I would try.

Then suddenly I notice… there is an open WiFi network. I hadn’t even bothered to check on my own machine. I switched off the wireless and went to dialup mode immediately. This is not the kind of place one would expect to find WiFi. And it was wide open too, not one of those where you sign up and pay $10 a day or whatever. Of course, the girl at the front desk had not mentioned this when telling Brandy we didn’t want to call long distance to go online. Duh! Brandy thinks this WiFi isn’t actually intended for hotel guests, and it is actually just for the office, and we happen to be only two rooms over from the office. She may be right. My signal strength is low. But I don’t care. I have free broadband internet. It is actually better than what I have at home in Melbourne at the moment.

So anyway, we are settled in for the night. Watching the weather channel. Amy is watching her DVD. I am doing this email. We’ll probably turn in for the night soon.

Checkout is at 11 AM. Probably around 9 or 10 AM, we’ll take a look at the forecast and decide if we want to ask and see if they have any vacancy for tomorrow night and just stay here longer, or if we continue going west. Where we are will probably get some heavy rain Sunday night or Monday from the storm, but probably won’t be horrible. Just a bad storm. (For that matter, with it weakening, we probably would have been fine just staying in Melbourne, but at the time, leaving looked good…) So we’d probably be absolutely fine staying here. On the other hand, doing the road trip is fun. And I’ve never been to Alabama! Or Mississippi. Or Louisiana! But then again, once this blows past, we’ll at some point have to drive BACK to Melbourne, so we may not want to go any further than we have to.

OK. That’s it for the update today.

Talk to you all soon!

Brevard County Charter Amendment 1

OK, the text of this one is

Shall Section 7.4 of the Brevard County Charter be amended to increase the interval between appointment of regular Charter Review Commissions from six years to eight years, and to increase the time allowed for such review from one year to eighteen months?

Initial research showed this to be as straightforward as it seems. The charter requires that a commission be set up periodically to review the charter and recommend changes. Personally, I think this kind of thing shouldn’t have a regular schedule anyway, but rather just be as needed, and infrequent. So something that makes it LESS frequent is fine.

I will vote: YES FOR APPROVAL

To See the Edwards

So, Saturday morning we took Brandy’s mom to the airport in Orlando to go back to Pennsylvania. (She had been visiting for Amy’s birthday.) As it happens, Brandy, having signed up to volunteer for the Kerry campaign, had some tickets to a John Edwards event in Orlando. So we stopped by. Before and after the event, Amy got to play on the moon bounce that was provided for the kids. There was an hour or so of waiting before anything happened. It was good that it was a nice day! Finally there were a few short speeches by some union types and local politicians… then John Edwards did indeed appear. We were probably about 30 feet back in the crowd from the podium. I took a few pictures. Including the one here.

The event we were at was the opening of a new union hall, so the crowd was mostly union. And Edwards oriented his speech in that direction. So there was a little bit on foreign policy and Iraq and such, but not a huge amount. Then they talked about health care, and social security, and trade policies, and all of that sort of thing. For me though, that probably had the wrong effect. Because what he was doing was not talking much about the areas in which I agree with them and instead he was emphasising the stuff where I disagree with them. Of course, I was not the intended audience. The union folks in the crowd were. And they ate it up. There was all sorts of waving of signs and cheering and people were very excited. After the event they were organizing busses to early voting locations and the like. I bet a lot of the folks did just that.

We did not however. We weren’t in the right county to actually vote. And in my case anyway, I still have more research to do before I am ready to vote, especially on the local races and issues. Also, Amy had something to do in the afternoon, so we had to get back to Melbourne.

Coincidentally, President Bush was speaking just north of Melbourne today as well. I wish we had had tickets for that as well. It would have been very interesting to go straight from one to the other and compare and contrast. As it turns out, one of Amy’s friends from the neighborhood did have tickets and went with her family. We did not though. Coming home on I-95, we had to content ourselves with watching what appeared from a distance to be Air Force One on final approach into Patrick Air Force Base. That almost counts, right?

Brevard County Charter Amendment 2

OK, now the ballot text on this one simply says:

Shall the Preamble be revised and incorporated into Section 1.1 of the Charter of Brevard County so as to give legal effect to the provisions of the preamble?

Well, OK, obviously there isn’t enough information here to make a decision. However the full text of the existing county charter is here and the full text of the proposed amendment is here. Using those two together we see that they are trying to change this:

PREAMBLE

We, the people of Brevard County, in the belief that governmental decisions affecting the interests of our County should be made locally rather than by the State, in order to establish a government responsive to the needs and wishes of the citizens and to guarantee equal civil and political rights for all; do hereby avail ourselves of the opportunity afforded by the Constitution of Florida to adopt a Home Rule Charter, conceived in the interest of cooperation with the municipalities and other governmental units of the County; and do ordain and establish this Home Rule Charter for Brevard County.

ARTICLE 1

CREATION, POWERS AND ORDINANCES OF HOME RULE CHARTER GOVERNMENT

Section 1.1.   Creation and general powers of home rule charter government

Brevard County shall be a home rule charter county, and, except as may be limited by this Home Rule Charter, shall have all powers of self-government granted now or hereafter by the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida.

to get rid of the preamble entirely and change Article 1 Section 1.1 to:

ARTICLE 1

CREATION, POWERS AND ORDINANCES OF HOME RULE CHARTER GOVERNMENT

Section 1.1.   Creation and general powers of home rule charter government

WE, THE PEOPLE of Brevard County, residing in the constituent state of Florida of the United States of America, grateful for and secure in our protected individual rights, and in affirmation of dedication to the Constitutions and laws of the United States of the State of Florida, do ordain and establish this Home Rule Charter for the execution of our County Government for the most common benefits to all our inhabitants. Brevard County shall be a home rule charter county, and, except as may be limited by this Home Rule Charter, shall have all powers of self-government granted now or hereafter by the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida.

OK. This is supposidly to make the statements in the preamble have force of law since they are in the charter itself rather than in a preamble. However all that is being moved is essentially the statement that Brevard County is in Florida and we are grateful for our rights. This seems pointless, and the original is more verbose, and I like verbosity. And the best statement in favor of this I could find was a Florida Today Editorial that said

a minor alteration that does no harm and strengthens the preamble’s legitimacy

Uh huh. Pointless change, waste of time. Does no harm. Not a good enough argument.

So on this one, my vote is: NO

Darkflash: Interesting Week

Time for another Darkflash! This one was sent to friends and family 2 September 2004 04:25:02 UTC.

So, this week has been pretty interesting. Lets see…

Thursday: We started looking at houses again for the first time in a couple months, now that we are fairly settled. We weren’t going to look again for a few more weeks until my company finishes paying me back my relocation money, but the agent sent us one that looked really good. So we looked. And liked it.

Saturday: We went back to the house. To check it out in a lot more detail. We still liked it a lot. It was near the top of the range we had been looking at, but it was larger than most we had looked at in the same price range. It needed a little work, but nothing major, and all things Brandy wanted to do. And otherwise it had almost all the things we had on the list of things we wanted. A couple little things missing, but nothing major, and on balance good.

Monday: In the morning I speak to my boss to see if he can assure me that I’ll get all my relocation money by the end of September. Because if I have that money, making an offer on a house would be viable. If I do not, then it needed to wait. He gave me enough assurances to move forward. We put in an offer. If we get it then we may be a little house poor for awhile. We’ll have to cut back on other things. It will be a little tight, but we can do it. I then immediately left for a business trip to New York City. I was supposed to be there from Monday night to Thursday night. Basically completely overlapping the Republican Convention. I found out on the plane though that the trip had been extended, and we (me and two other people from the company) would be staying until Friday night.

Tuesday: We had a great meeting with the people we were in NYC to see. And in the middle of the day I got notice that our offer had been officially accepted by the sellers of the house we liked. But by the time we left the meeting, the “well, maybe it might be an issue” thoughts on Hurricane Frances had turned into the forecasts explicitly saying there would be a good chance of a direct hit on us in Melbourne. There was much conferring, and it was decided that we were leaving on the next flight out. All the rest of the meetings would be canceled. MEanwhile, the AC in Melbourne started leaking, and soaked the rug in Amy’s room. Complete soaking stinking mess.

Wednesday: We got up at 4 AM, and took a 6 AM flight home. After a layover in Atlanta, we were home just after noon. Now it was all hurricane all the time. Oh, and Brandy had the AC folks fix the AC. But the rig in Amy’s room still was soaked and smelling very bad. But with the hurricane, there were more pressing concerns.

Accent had decided that on noon Thursday the whole company was being relocated. (And families as desired.) They are relocating to a big block of rooms they reserved at the Dolphin Hotel near Disney. The idea being (I think) that even if Orlando got clobbered too (which looks likely) that Disney would be up and running more quickly. However, no pets allowed, so we have to go elsewhere.

Now, to answer a question several have asked… We have a bunch of fish, 4 birds, 2 lizards and a dog. How do I have a dog? Am I not allergic? Won’t I die? Brandy has had the dog (Princely) since it was a puppy 9 years ago. It is a 115 pound rottweiler malemut mix. It is super friendly with people, but not so good with other dogs. Excepts its “brother” Sammy. Yes, Sammy. Anyway, the original plan was that when we moved to Florida, both dogs would stay with Brandy’s mom. But Brandy’s mom decided she couldn’t handle both of them. There were not many other options, and none of them were satisfying. So we brought Princely with us. Now I *AM* deathly allergic to dogs and cats and imaginary friends named Shmoo. But it is Florida, and there is an enclosed porch thing called a Florida room here. So that room is where the dog lives. I don’t go in there much, and aside from a couple times in major storms, Princely does not come inside, and thus we can coexist happily.

OK, now with that out of the way, that whole pets thing means we can’t stay with Accent in Orlando. So our plan is to just head roughly northwest, leaving by noon Thursday, and go as far as we can get. There will be lots of evacuation traffic, so who knows how far we will really manage to get, but we’ll try out best to at least make Tallahasee, if not beyond. Cause all the hotels in Florida are already booked apperantly. Brandy has relatives in Tallahasee. And perhaps beyond that we might actually be able to find a cheap pet friendly or pet oblivious motel.

Meanwhile, back at home, we spent Thursday afternoon moving stuff around in the garage to try to block up (a bit) the garage window, and to make space so Brandy’s second car could go into the garage. Then after that, after getting news that the Accent people who were going to help us board up the house a bit had some of the needed supplies left, but not all, we spent several hours in a fruitless search for places that still had things like masonry anchors and such. There may be such, but we didn’t find. In the morning two people from work are coming to help us, and we’ll improvise any way we can to board up as much as possible, tape up what we can’t board up, and then when time runs out, we’re just leaving.

We’ll have packed the animals and the most valuable stuff (both dollar wise and sentimental) into my Saturn and Brandy’s Nissan, and we’ll be on our way.

And no, I am not loading the email archive into the evacuation cars. If my old print email archive from CMU gets destroyed, I certainly will not be happy, I’ll be quite upset. But I’ll get over it. And frankly, if things get messed up enough that the email gets messed up, it will be bad enough that a lot more than that will be ruined, and it will be the least of our concerns.

We’ll put stuff as far away from windows as we can manage. Hope we don’t get it bad enough that the roof comes off, and just hope for the best.

Of course, we will actually hopefully be at least on the other side of the state by the time it hits. We may lose stuff, but we have no intention of being one of those idiots who stays around for a hurricane this strength.

Oh, and there is that house we put an offer in on. The offer that was accepted. Well… we have 14 days to schedule an inspection. That will be after the hurricane. If there is major storm damage, that may just not happen. At the same time, the added expenses of relocating the whole company may screw up cash flow at accent, in which case they may have issues getting the relocation money back to me in time. Also a case in which the house thing may not happen. We shall see.

A lot in flux right now.

Anyway, it is just after midnight. Brandy has already turned in. I’m also going to catch a quick nap. I’m meeting the folks from work who will be helping with this house at 7 AM. And before then we need to get a bit more packed and ready to leave, and a bit more of what is here in order. If the clock strikes noon, we’re leaving, even if we haven’t gotten everything together that we would like to have done. Noon, we go. We will not be here any longer. So it will be short sleep and up early to try to get everything set to go as much as possible. Whatever isn’t done, oh well.

So, having said that, time for me to take a quick nap, then wake up and get back to work.

I’ll update again if I have a chance later, but it may well be a few days.

Brevard County Charter Amendment 3

Starting with this post over the next week and a half or so until the election, I’ll be working my way up the ballot from the bottom, deciding how to vote on each issue or race. Of course I will share that with my handful of loyal readers. I’m starting at the bottom which is local referenda, then the state referenda, then local offices, then state offices, then national offices, and finally president.

So lets start with this one:

Brevard County Charter Amendment 3
“Truth in Taxation”

Shall the Brevard County Charter be amended to require publication of notice of tax increase in any year in which the Board of County Commisioners tentatively adopts a property tax millage rate in excess of the roll-back rate computed pursuant to Florida Statutes?

Well, OK. I did a little googling on this just to make sure there wasn’t anything that didn’t seem obvious here, and it seemed to be straightforward. It just requires public notice of changes in property tax rates that would result in increased revenue. Which could be due to increases in the rate, or in the tax base. In any case, it is all about notification and transparency in government, which I am all for.

So on this one, I will vote: YES

Electoral Vote Roundup

Being the junkie that I am, especially with things being as close as they are, every day I check a few of the places doing predictions of the electoral college results based on state polls. A pet peeve of mine is any place that even bothers mentioning national poll results as if they are at all relevant to anything. The popular vote doesn’t matter. The electoral college does.

Luckily there are dozens of places doing electoral college analysis, ranging from major main stream news outlets to individuals tracking this on their own. Some of them have really solid methodologies, some have odd methods, some are trying to be unbiased, some are clearly partisan. But they are all interesting.

Anyway, as a reference to anybody who wants to look at this kind of stuff, here are my favorite places to check regularly:

UnFutz: Once or twice a week UnFutz comes out with an electoral college survey. This basically provides links to almost all of the places on the web doing this sort of analysis on an ongoing basis. In addition UnFutz adds meta-analysis, averages, graphs and all sorts of other interesting things aggregating the results of all the others. From here you can look at the overall trends and also click through to each of the source sites to see them in detail. If you want to look at this stuff, start here. In between the surveys UnFutz is also publishing some additional meta-analysis. For the most recent UnFutz survey as of this post, look here.

electionprojection.com: This site is done by a Bush supporter, but tries to have a neutral methodology. He has an interesting method that takes into account not just state polls, but also the national polls, approval ratings, and other things. I now check other places more often, but this is one of the first I found, and I got into a habit of looking, so it is still on my list.

electoral-vote.com: The must check site. Not necessarily because they have a better methodology, or their prediction is most likely to be right, or anything like that, but simply because they update every day, and have some cool graphs. They also provide daily commentary on what has changed since the previous days, thoughts on the validity of the results, and that sort of thing. As of today their graph shows just how volatile the electoral college is in a race this close. Since tracking started on this site in May, the lead has changed *SEVENTEEN TIMES*.

After spending time looking at all these sorts of things, including the tracking graphs on several, and seeing the current breakdown of the predictions on UnFutz (20 Bush winning, 15 bush ahead, 8 Kerry ahead, 19 Kerry winning) only one thing is clear… barring something huge happening in the next couple weeks, we definately won’t know the results until (at least) election night. This isn’t one of those where month ahead of time you pretty much knew how it would turn out. Every daily news cycle has the possibility of shifting the results significanty… with winner take all in most states, and so many states split right down the middle and really too close to call… it’ll all come down to how a handful of states end up falling at the very last minute, and that will depend on how the small number of undecideds fall, as well as how the far off the polls end up being from reality.

It should be fun. And of course, it will be even more interesting (although not necessarily fun) if any of the things listed in this article happen:

Florida 2000: The Sequel
(Richard Hasen, Slate)

Nightmare Scenarios

  • No. 1: Litigation Following Voting Glitch
  • No. 2: Litigation Over Whose Vote Counts
  • No. 3: Litigation Over Colorado’s Amendment 36
  • No. 4: Electoral College Woes in Congress
  • No. 5: Terrorist Attack That Disrupts Voting
  • (via electoral-vote.com)

    There are also issues already bubbling about absentee votes and problems there, and various irregularities in voting in various places… none of which will matter at all if one or the other candidate pulls far enough ahead, but if it is close… I suppose it is too much to ask to get fun like 2000 twice in a row????