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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October 2005
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Oops – Update

I have been chastised by more than one person at this point because the last thing I posted was a note saying we were at the height of the storm and I wanted to go outside to play in the storm, then I did not post anything (or in many cases email anything) for many days. I apologize. We are fine.

A little bit after that last post our cable internet did go out, and stayed out for about four or five hours. But we never lost power for more than 30 seconds, and there was no damage to the house or anything like that. A lot of trees lost branches, and many of those ended up in the pool. But it was just stuff to clean up and put in a pile by the road to be picked up by the people who pick up lawn waste. No actual damage. Not really even inconvieniant. Well, except that being without Internet for several hours thing. But that was it.

One of our neighbors was not as lucky though. At some point during the storm I looked across the golf course and saw something flapping on a house across the way. I was on a conference call with work. I ran around the house trying to get Brandy’s attention, but I couldn’t. Then the phone convienantly lost signal. (Really.. I didn’t do it on purpose!) So I was able to yell to Brandy and tell her to come right away!

So then we stood on our back porch and watched the house across the golf course as its roof started to flap. Then suddenly… the whole roof just lifted into the air, flew off the house, flipped over, and landed a couple dozen feet away from the house. It was one of those metal roofs. The stuff under the metal was still there, but the metal cladding just ripped right off.

Ouch.

Later on, after the winds died down, a whole bunch of people were standing around that house scratching their heads and looking at it.

That would suck.

But we were fine. I just got busy as soon as the winds died down and the Internet was back. There was work. There was Amy. There was cleaning up. So no blogging and not much email occured.

Sorry!

Wilma Closest Approach

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Looks like Wilma is as close as it is going to get. Right now the wind is going nuts, there are small tree branches down and running accross the golf course. The power has been on and off several times this morning, but never out for more than about a minute so far. Right now outside the wind is going nuts. Brandy and I spent the last few minutes outside on the lanai just watching. The wind is strong enough to be an “Oh wow! Did you see that!” but not quite enough for a “Run for you lives!!”. There are a bunch of branches down, but that seems to be the extent of actual damage.

The TV is talking about flooding everywhere in our area. And one tornado ripped up an apartment complex about 3 miles away.

I want to go out and play in the storm and do the lean into the wind thing, but aside from one quick dash out into the open when the wind slowed down for a minute, Brandy won’t let me. Something about flying objects impaling me or something silly like that.

In any case, it is has been pretty strong consistantly for the last half hour or so. Shouldn’t be much longer though.

And this is just TS force winds. Ain’t nothing compared to what they got to the south of us where they got Cat 2 and Cat 3 winds.

Anyway, we’ll see if we retain power. Kinda too bad if the whle county doesn’t lose power, cause Brandy would get lots of overtime. :-) Just kidding.

We’ve taken a few pictures, but I can’t find the cord to get them off the camera into the computer. So those will have to wait.

Ouch! The wind is whistling really loud right now. I’m going to run outside again.

It Is Kinda Windy

Morning update as of the 9 UTC NHC report

Chances of TS force winds: 85%
Chances of Hurricane force winds: 20%

Right now outside it alternates between calm and not much going on to some pretty heavy gusts and strong winds. But not “you can’t walk” type winds.

The weather radio is going off every hour or so with new hurricane warnings in the county. The last one was about 20 miles south of us. The one before that was only about 5 miles north of us.

As of this very second, pretty calm. But not likely to stay that way.

We can now see the eye on local radar, but it isn’t at closest approach yet.

Gas Stealers!!

So today we were starting to move all the stuff in from outside and generally get ready for Wilma, whatever Wilma will turn out to be here in Palm Bay. We were testing the generator, when all of a sudden we realized out two 5 gallon cans of gas were gone. We kept them outside since when we put them inside they stink. But someone had taken them sometime in the past few days since I last filled them up. Grrr! There was nothing to be done for it, but Brandy filed a police report, just on the principle of the thing. The person who took their report says this happens all the time right before storms. Grrrr…

image Anyway, speaking of Wilma, it is supposed to hit Florida in just about 12 hours. Maybe slightly more, maybe slightly less. It’ll get us on the opposite coast a few hours later. Well… that’s when the eye will hit. We should start getting effects much sooner than that, and in fact we are already starting to get some outer band rain and wind. The center of the path is now a decent bit south of us, but we’re still in the bubble. Right near the top edge of it, but still in it.

imageThings have been moving around and the odds have been going up and down with each update. The early morning update had us at much higher risk, then later updates moved the path further south and dropped our risk. Right now, as of the 21 UTC update, in terms of tropical storm force winds, we are right in the middle of the darker orange band, which puts us at about a 55% chance of sustained tropical storm force winds. And even on the 45% chance of not having tropical storm force winds, it is still going to be a bad storm with lots of wind and some gusts which would be TS level.

imageHmm. The weather radio just went off. We’re now under a tornado warning in Brevard county as well as the hurricane warning we were already under. So I guess we are starting to get some effects already. Fun, fun. Anyway, on the odds for hurricane force winds, we are in the middle of the middle green stripe, which puts us at about a 15% chance of hurricane force winds. But even if that happens, it should only be a Cat 1 by the time it gets here. We shall see though.

Anyway, guess it is about time we hunker down and start watching some DVDs or whatever. We’re as ready as we are going to be this time. We even got some wood. Although we weren’t really able to put it up properly this time. Should all be fine though. This one ain’t like the ones last year. At least that’s not what is expected right now. We shall see.

Brandy is still very mad someone stole our gas. We got new gas though, so we’ll be able to run the generator if we have to. :-)

Updated Odds

So, 18 hours since the update when we went into the 3 day bubble. The forecast has changed a bit. Wilma not spending quite as much time over the Yucatan, and speeding up a tad. Etc. The predicted path is a bit further south, but our odds of trouble have never the less increased. Here is where we are as of the 15 UTC update today:

Chances of tropical storm force winds: 45%
Chances of hurricane force winds: 8%

Probably Monday morning rather than Monday evening.

By contrast where my friend Ivan lives, it looks like this:

Chances of tropical storm force winds: 55%
Chances of hurricane force winds: 15%

Those are approximate of course.

We’ll keep watching. But we have no plans to evacuate or anything at this time. Probably not even board up, although we are thinking about it.

Finally Bubbleized by Wilma!

Finally, days after initially expected, as of the 21 UTC update from the National Hurricane Center, we are in the three day bubble for Hurricane Wilma:

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We’ve been in the five day bubble for what seems like forever, but this is the first we’ve been in the 3 day. We’ve been thinking “surely we’ll be in the three day by the next update” since Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

Not that we like being in the bubble or anything, but it has been “coming” for like a week now. Of course, one of the reasons it is late coming here is it is absolutely pummeling the Yucatan, which looks like it will be horrible for folks living there. They are predicting for Wilma to basically sit on top of Cancun ALL WEEKEND. And it already has been having major effects most of the day Friday. That will not be good.

Anyway, I’ve found two new charts at the NHC that I like a lot better and tell more I think. They were there for the last few hurricanes too I think, I just didn’t pay any attention. These reflect the actual odds of given places getting certain amounts of winds.

So for instance, in this one covering from now until 18 UTC on Wednesday you can see what the chances are of hurricane force winds in that time frame at different places:

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So looking at our approximate location, and doing a little eyeball interpolation, the chances of us getting hurricane force winds here in Palm Bay are about 5%. So not zero, but not all that high either.

For tropical storm force winds, our odds are a bit higher:

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For our location I guestimate about a 35% chance of tropical storm force winds.

Of course, the way odds go, as the time of the event approaches, it either moves to 0% or moves to 100% since quantum effects aside, it will either happen or not.

But the long and short of it is that we will probably (65% chance) get absolutely nothing of note. But there is a decent chance of getting some tropical storm force winds. And even the 1 out of 20 chance of hurricane force winds is nothing to sneeze at. It could happen.

So we’ll of course be watching carefully the next few days.

I’d like to point out that we are almost exactly on the centerline of the new official projected path. This is one of the reason I like the ones based on probability a lot better. It better reflects the total uncertainy about the path and what may happen. The fact that we are right on the center line is concerning, but really not of much more concern than if we were anywhere else in the bubble. There is enough of a chance of trouble to pay close attention, and make basic preparations, but not for panic.

Like they keep saying on TV, don’t just pay attention to the centerline. Look at the whole bubble.

We postponed Amy’s birthday party from this weekend to next weekend because a couple days ago when we had to make the call it was more like a 60% chance of TS winds and a 30% chance of hurricane winds, and right on Saturday to Sunday when the party/sleepover would be. We had to make the call in enough time to let all the invitees plan accordingly. But still… now Amy is all disappointed by the delay in her party and it will probably be a beautiful day tomorrow. Sigh!

But we did let her open her big present though. As I am writing this she has the new kareoke machine cranked up and is singing “Mony Mony”. So I guess that is all OK. :-)

Two Digits at Last!!

Since this is me, I have of course accounted for the fact that a year is not an integer number of days, time zones, leap years, and all other relevant factors… well, aside from relativistic time dilation… I must admit I didn’t account for that… I also have assumed that the clock they used to record the time of the initial event was accurate, which is probably not a good assumption, but in any case…

At 15:43:40 UTC today Amy will be exactly ten years old.

That is 11:43:40 AM Eastern, 8:43:40 AM Pacific.

So, be sure to wish her a happy birthday and all that!

Happy Birthday Amy!!!!

Tivo is Dead, Long Live Tivo!

I’ve been waiting to blog about Wilma, but I had determined that I wouldn’t do that until we were actually in the NHC’s three day cone. It looked like that would happen at the NHC’s 21 UTC update, but it didn’t. I thought surely it would happen at the NHC’s 03 UTC update. But once again it did not. So screw it, I’ll talk about something else. At least until the 09 UTC update. Maybe we’ll be in the three day bubble by then. Anyway… other topic…

I blame Erica. A couple weeks ago she emails about her Tivo suddenly not starting up. It was a dead hard drive. So what happens this weekend? The exact same thing happens to my Tivo. It was probably sympathy, since the Tivo we used here was once a brother and housemate to the Tivo of Erica’s which died. It sensed the departure of its long lost friend, and decided it had to go with it.

So anyway, we discussed if we should replace it with a stock DirecTivo, or an upgraded one. The deciding factor ended up not being cost or anything else like that, but the fact that to get a pre-upgraded one we’d have to order online and get it shipped to us. And it was Saturday night by the time we were making decisions, so even with overnight shipping that meant we wouldn’t have it until Tuesday. Which meant that it probably would not be fully set up and recording until Wednesday.

Now, we knew we could hijack Amy’s Tivo and use it to record some of our shows in the meantime (and we indeed did that over the weekend). But Brandy decided she absolutely could not wait. So Sunday we went to Circuit City and walked out with a new DirecTivo. It has less hours than the one that died, but we’ll manage. We’ll probably end up getting a third one in a couple of months so each of us can have our own Tivo and not have to share. :-)

In any case, the new Tivo was all hooked up Sunday evening, and had collected and indexed all its initial guide data and so was fully up and running by mid day Monday.

And all was once again right in the world.

Except for the fact that we lost about 100 hours of programs on the old Tivo that we hadn’t gotten around to watching yet. That made me very sad. :-(

But aside from that, all was good!

At Least It Wasn’t Crowd Hoot

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I am really so not sure what I think about this. It could end up being really good, but somehow I am filled with a sense of dread. I really was not a fan of Captain Jack. He was funny if the first episode he showed up in, but at least for me he wore thin pretty quickly. Oh well, of course I will watch it.

BBC to screen ‘Dr Who for adults’ as new spin-off show

The BBC has commissioned the Doctor Who scriptwriter Russell T Davies to make an adult post-watershed spin-off of its most famous sci-fi show. The new programme will be called Torchwood (an anagram of Doctor Who) and will follow a crack team investigating alien activities and crime in modern-day Britain. It will feature in its starring role John Barrowman, who played Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and who will play the same character in Torchwood.

(via GallifreyOne)

Cinema: Serenity

imageAs folks might have guessed from what I said about the Firefly DVD, we went to see Serenity, the Firefly movie. I’m way late posting again, we didn’t see this over the weekend that just ended, but rather the weekend before.

In any case, it was awesome. Took everything that was good about the TV series and upped it a notch or two. It tied up some things from the series and threw in a few surprises. I had manger to stay almost spoiler free, and at least one thing really caught me by surprise. In any case, all three of us really enjoyed it.

The theater we saw it in, at the time we say it, was actually pretty crouded. But apperantly that was not average. The word was that if this grossed $80 million at the box office, there would be sequels. Things do not look good. As of it’s third weekend, it dropped off the top 10 down to 12 and had only made $22.1 million. The number of theaters it is in is dropping rapidly. So if you want to see it, you’d better go NOW! Or you’ll have to wait for the DVD in a couple months.

Anyway, even allowing for international box office and DVD revenue, looks like the chances of a sequel are dim. Which is a shame, cause it is a great series. [By the maker of Buffy and Angel, blah, blah, blah.] But he did get a chance to wrap up a bunch of what was brought up in the series, so if this has to be it, at least there is a feeling that between the TV show and the movie there is a begining, middle and end and you are not left hanging.

But sequels would be nice.

So go see it damn it!

If this guy can buy $2,500 tickets to this movie to help the quest for a sequel, you can all go out to buy three or four, right?