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



November 2004

Frump Watch

A few weeks ago Bob Frump, one of the many bosses I had at my previous employer, emailed with this note:

The History Channel will run a documentary on the sinking of the Marine Electric on Nov. 22, 9 PM EST as a part of its Deepsea Detectives series. The producers seemed to know what they were doing and I have high hopes for it.

I had been waiting to blog this until right before the broadcast. Because I waited, I can augment the above with this additional detail Jon sent me a few days ago:

When the History Channel airs its TV documentary “Ship of Doom” on November 22, […] employees at the corporate campus in Princeton, New Jersey, will see a familiar face.

That’s because the show is based on a book written by their colleague, Bob Frump, the editor in chief for GPC Marketing Brand Communications, and he is interviewed by the TV network’s historians during the show.

Frump’s book, Until the Sea Shall Free Them, is the nonfiction narrative of how an old ship, the S.S. Marine Electric, sank with most of her crew off the Virginia coast during a winter storm in 1983. Frump said Disney/Buena Vista has optioned film rights for the book, which was published in 2002, and has budgeted production for a feature film.

The History Channel airs the show on Monday, November 22, at 9 pm Eastern time as part of its Deepsea Detectives series, whose episodes feature the attempts by divers and technical experts to discover the reasons behind famous shipwrecks over the centuries.

For the “Ship of Doom” episode, divers searched the rusted hulk of the Marine Electric 134 feet beneath the Atlantic to discover what caused the merchant ship to sink. The History Channel’s website synopsizes the theme this way: “Survivors blamed the owners for sending an unsafe boat to sea. But the owners charged that one of the survivors caused his crewmates’ deaths by failing to observe basic safety procedures. In the shadow of these allegations, the wreck is a potential crime scene.”

That is from an announcement sent out to employees back there at the old job.

In any case, congratulaions to Bob, this is great! Now everybody go set your Tivos!

Uh, and Brandy, I forgot to set our Tivo to get this. Can you set it so I won’t forget later? Thanks! :-)

House Cleaning

Last night after dinner we drove by the house we are trying to buy. It looked like they may have begun the repairs. Or at least some cleanup. It was dark and we did not get out of the car to go look in more detail like we have other times, but it seemed like some of the debris from the front of the house had finally been removed or piled up to go. So it looks like they may have started.

A bunch of things still have to go right for this to happen. They have to finish the repairs, and the inspections have to confirm that it is indeed as good as it was before the hurricanes and there are no other major problems. And I have to get the last of my relocation payments from work. And we otherwise have to have no major unexpected costs between now and whenever closing happens. (Probably January, but maybe December… depends on how long the repairs take.) We shall see. Any one of a number of things could yet derail it. But it looks good at the moment.

But since it now looks like this may happen (as opposed to a month ago when it looked like it the odds were slim) here are a couple pictures.

First, this is the house we are renting from Ivan’s family right now:


And then this is the one we are trying to buy:


(Both images are from the Brevard County Property Appraiser. They are at the same scale. North is up in both pictures.)

Crossing our fingers for everything to work out!

July 2004 Top Ten!!

Catching up some more on the email top ten postings. Here come the July results!

July 2004

Not a huge amount of action again this month. But healthy amounts of email from the usual suspects. Matt drops off the list to be replaced by Kelly. Otherwise, people floated up and down a little, but not much change. Chris added a little volume, and took the lead from Matt, who essentially disappeared for July. And that was that. Go Chris.

One Year

Brandy and I were thinking about something that had happened and were trying to figure out if it had been more or less than a year ago. (I think it turned out to be more.) But anyway, that led Brandy to check something on my blog.

She was looking for this entry. That post announced the death of my parakeet Brain. It was a sad day. But when she rushed back to my house from her house to help me bury Brain and to grieve with me, it kinda marked the start of when we started “dating”. Well, that can be counted in many different ways. We first met back in February 2003. I think. Our first “date” was in March 2003. And we talked and saw each other fairly regularly from that point onward as “just friends”. And certain other (cough) milestones (cough) would actually be later on down the road than this date. And I didn’t actually say publicly to anyone that we were a couple until this post almost a month later.

But the transition into being a couple, or at least calling it that kinda happened that day. In retrospect, we had been acting like a couple for months before that. But this was when we sort of started realizing it ourselves.

I put that posting up at:

12 Nov 2003 01:44:39 UTC

Exactly one year later (given the true length of a year and the oddities of the calendar) would be:

11 Nov 2004 07:33:25 UTC

Um, it’s now a little bit more than two and a half days since then. So I guess we missed it. Oops.

But, better late than never I suppose.

Happy one year of being a couple Brandy. It has been a great year. It is hard to believe it has actually ONLY been a year. Thank you. I love you. And here is to the next year being as fun as the first, but perhaps not quite as chaotic!

June 2004 Top Ten!!

OK, I know I am many months behind. First the website was down, and then there were other things. But I’m trying to catch up a little bit. Before long everything will be back to normal! In any case, while the winners found out back in July, now the results can be made public! Here is the top ten for June 2004!

June 2004

Well, June was a bit odd, because between me moving, and me not having a computer for half the month while it was in for repairs, I basically answered almost no email at all. So with a few exceptions, most of the email in this month’s contest was essentially people talking amongst themselves while copying me, or them just talking to themselves valiantly waiting for replies from me which didn’t come until many weeks later if at all. Yeah, I know, I suck. What can I say, I’ve been busy, and my computer was broken!

Safer Once Again

The world is continuing to get safer. Grenada and Cuba have both had their travel warnings lifted. Presumably because the hurricane damage has pretty much been taken care of. This brings us back to a level of 26 countries with State Department travel warnings… which in the little more than a year I’ve been doing this seems to be the “normal” level.

State Department Travel Warnings Over Time

A chart of how many countries world wide have US State Department Travel Warnings as that number varies over time.  Serves as a proxy to chart roughly how dangerous the world is as the world situation changes over time.  Perhaps not the best measure of that, but an interesting one perhaps.

So anyway, start planning those trips to Grenada and Cuba! They are OK now!

Sam’s Pictures in Odd Places

OK. So for the last year or so, when I’ve looked at stats or logs from my site, I’ve actually looked at filtered logs, with just the hits to actual PAGES. Yesterday I decided, for the first time in ages, to look at the FULL logs. I found some fun things.

Just like the picture of Sara was in the email going around, several other of my pictures are in use on other websites. For now, I’ll highlight the ones I found from looking at the full logs for my website for 11 Nov 2004 (UTC of course). These are fun! (Listed in order by the first time each appeared in the log during the day.)

#1) 00:10:55 UTC CrazyBrave: They use my picture of a sad panda to illustrate a point about “PandaGate”.  PandaGate is apperantly some sort of scandal going on in Australia. The sad panda is very sad. I found it on the ground by the dumpster in the rain one day. I almost saved it from its fate, but in the end I just took pictures. And now it is immortal!

#2) 00:23:49 UTC The Condominium: Someone on this discussion group thing uses this picture of Spaghetti from my site, but the discussion board is members only, so I can’t see the context. My context was that I picked up the box of spaghetti not knowing that the bottom of the box was open, and it spilled all over the floor. I wish I could see what they were saying about it! (But not enough to try to join their little exclusive club or whatever it is.)

#3) 02:37:44 UTC Kelliee’s LiveJournal: A user named “heartsofarmor” posts a picture I once took of a daddy longlegs type spider thing with a caption “that’s what they look like here in Georgia”.  Actually, I took the picture in New Jersey. South Brunswick, New Jersey to be specific. But to be fair, they probably do look pretty much the same in Georgia. They were trying to show someone on the West Coast what East Coast daddy long legs look like, because apperantly they are different. I did not know that.

#4) 02:37:48 UTC Quick Impulses’ Live Journal: Uses a picture I took of a Fuzzy Road in some sort of angst ridden passage about fear:  “I’m experiencing a third level of fear – not that I desire to fit in and fear I can’t; not that I fear directly what other people think of me; not that I think the standards of appropriate behavior as observed by the rest of the world should necessarily be mine – but that one day by something I do not fear now, I will learn to fear all these things, that I will learn to hate myself when a stuffy establisment doesn’t accept me, and to change for it so that they do.” That is what he says right before my picture.  OK.

All four of those got repeated hits all through the day. Very interesting. A little odd, but fun. (And no Rebecca, I don’t mind at all that they are using my pictures without permission, I think it is cool, although it would be cooler if they dropped me a note telling me!)

There are even more places like this that I’ve found by googling myself that just didn’t lead to any hits yesterday, but I’ll save those for another day. Some of them are pretty funny. I’ll post about those sometime before too long.

I’ll do one as well sometimes on just all searches that lead people here and similar things. But not today.

House News: Progress at Last!

Got this from our agent a few hours ago:

The listing realtor will have the extension signed by the sellers. She has told me that the roof is scheduled for the end of the month. Hopefully, it will get done on time so the other repairs can also get done. There is nothing we can do at this time but wait and see. I will keep you informed as progress is made.

For those of you following along, after the sellers had told us they would not be able to make repairs in time for the closing that had been scheduled, we agreed to give them more time after we got our mortgage rate lock extended. But they still had no actual date scheduled for the repairs to start. Now they do!

So soon all of the wreckage resulting from two direct hits by hurricanes will be gone and the place will be back to the state we originally saw it in!

At one point in this process, I put the odds of this thing working out at like 25%. That was when they still had no date for the repairs, they told us they would not be able to meet the deadline, and we didn’t yet know if we could get the rate lock extended. Now, with a rate lock going through late January, and them startiung repairs in a couple weeks… I’d say it looks pretty good again.

There are still a few things that have to fall into place to make this happen. So it isn’t 100% yet. But much higher. I dunno. Maybe 80%? So here’s crossing fingers that they do the repairs quickly, but with quality and that all the money stuff on my side falls into place in time, and everything else goes smoothly!

And then, if all goes well, we can enjoy being house poor for awhile… cause with the additional monthly cost, plus moving expenses, plus new things we’ll need for the house… we’ll be scraping by for at least some transitional time. So a bunch of those “optional expenses” like new gadgets and such will have to wait at least six months, maybe more. And we’ll have to cut back a little bit on our usual spending too. Hopefully not for VERY long, but for at least awhile while we transition and adjust…

Very exciting. But stressful too!

My World Now

The view of the world right now, centered on me, as it should be.


Up on the image is oriented toward the current location of galactic north.

(OK, this is actually what it looked like about half an hour ago, it took me a little bit to get it online… since then galactic north has moved a little bit relative to the planet, and of course the sun has too, and the cloud patterns may be a few hours old… but basically this is what it looks like.)

It is pretty. I like it.


I’ve noticed over the past few days that I seem to have fake people registering here. Not that many yet. So far there are 8 registered users. 1 is me. 2 are people I know. 1 more is a person who might be real. Then four are from russian domains with random letters in their emails and names who appear never to have logged on, read any posts, or posted any comments. I am guessing these are not real. And some have website links in their profiles like people trying to increase google page count. Anyway… I’ve turned on the feature to require “activation” of new accounts, hopefully that will stop these fake people. (Of course, only 4 of them over the course of over a year isn’t THAT bad… but there are now as many of them as real people, so time for action!)

I’m still leaving comments wide open, but if I start getting any comment spamming (which is getting more prevelant) then I’ll start requireing registration for that too.

Anyway, I’m late for work. Gotta run!

Oh, and if you are one of those Russians, and you are actually real, let me know. :-)