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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November 2006
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Firetrucks Ahoy

Tuesday around 02:00 UTC as I was leaving work to slog through a drive home three times longer than it usually was because of snow I saw firetrucks. A lot of firetrucks. I was crossing the bridge right after I left work (it took 15 minutes just to get across the bridge) and firetruck after firetruck after firetruck went zooming by with sirens on. I wondered where they were going and what the big fire was that needed so many firetrucks. When I got home I checked on the local news and couldn’t find anything at all. Nothing on the 11 PM news either. Just lots about how all kinds of people were stuck in the snow and such.

Today at lunch I found out… the fire was in the building where I work. The alarms went off minutes after I left the building. And it was not a false alarm as happens occationally. The lobby was apperantly actually full of real smoke from some sort of real fire.

But it seems it was small and taken care of quickly by the dozens of fire trucks. Today there is no sign whatsoever that there was any problem at all. I have no idea where exactly the fire was. There is no obvious damage anywhere.

Anyway, that is what the firetrucks were for.

Christian Eber Smith

I have once again gone too long without posting an ancestor. So now it is time. No picture again, they are sporadic in this generation. In any case, this time it is the turn of my Father’s Father’s Mother’s Father, Christian Eber Smith.

He was born in 1839, died in 1905. Lived basically his whole life in Glenn Springs, South Carolina. Married Henrietta Anderson in 1870 and had 8 kids of which my great-grandmother was the second. He started college, but left to fight in the Civil War (on the Confederate side). After the war he became a farmer as his family’s fortunes had been wiped out in the war. He also became an elder in his local church.

And that is about all I know. What additional details I know are at the Abulwiki page linked above.

Krammed

This morning in the second game of the latest big “Human Champion vs Computer” match current World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik did not only lose but was actually checkmated by Fritz. It was a one move blunder. Kramnick made a mistake, then wham, checkmate. That is just plain not supposed to happen to a world champion. Games at this level almost always end with someone resigning, or with an agreed draw. An actual end of the game due to a mate or a by the rules draw is very very rare. So it was kind of cool to see happen. Well… I missed the exact moment because I was on a conference call with Europe, but I saw right before and right after…

Anyway, two games into this match it is dissapointing to me even though the computer is ahead 1.5 to 0.5 at the moment. Cause the first game was a draw, and apperantly some people think Kramnik should have been able to pull out a win. And this second game was again definately a draw, with some people thinking Kramnik should be able to pull out a win… before he made his stupid move.

It has been years now since Deep Blue first scored a point against Kasparov. Now, DB was a custom built computer, whereas the program now competing with world champions can be purchased by anybody and runs on commodity windows machinces. So I guess there has been improvement and all, but I am looking for the point where the world’s best machine can wipe the floor with the world champion the same way that the world champion human could wipe the floor with a five year old who just learned the rules. So far that just isn’t happening.

It is looking more and more like the humans will remain good enough to be able to at least manage a draw if they don’t make big mistakes. That is kind of disappointing. Well, we’ll see how it goes given a few more years.

And there are a few more games left in this match. I have been getting up early to watch them online. Maybe there will be more excitement in the coming games. The actual checkmate and all is cool, but it would have been nicer if the computer had outplayed the human all game long instead of there just being a stupid mistake at the end.

Also… just to repeat a tirade I make every time I watch one of these human/computer matches… traditions and respect for your opponant and all that nonsense aside… a computer in a human computer match should NEVER resign and should NEVER accept a draw. And this game shows exactly why. The human can make a stupid mistake. The computers should accept the human resigning, but otherwise should force the game to go to the bitter end no matter what… either a checkmate or a draw by the rules (Stalemate, Insufficent Material, Threefold Repitition, Fifty Move Rule). Because up until that very last moment, the human could always screw up and let the computer back in the game, even if the computer was losing previously. Computers should NEVER resign and NEVER accept a draw offer. Period.

DVD: She’s The Man

Last weekend we watched one of Amy’s movies. This was supposedly loosely based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night”. But I had never seen or read that play, so I can’t evaluate that. But basically it is all about a girl who decides to pretend to be a boy (taking the place of her brother in order to prove she can play soccer as well as the boys) and all the hi-jinx and romantic triangles and rectangles and such that ensue.

There were a few funny moments. But this most definitely was aimed at the 10-13 year old girl demographic, not at 36 year old men. It was cute and all, especially if you managed to completely and totally forget about the fact that she was not a convincing male and all the huge plot holes. But forgetting that, it was cute and there were a few moments to laugh at.

And if you happen to have a 10 to 13 year old girl around, they will enjoy it I am sure. :-)

Wuzzit

Thanksgiving Traditions

I don’t remember for sure what we did last year, but now two out of last three years we have spent Thanksgiving Eve in the Emergency Room.

Two years ago Brandy’s back was in so much pain her routine RXs were not enough and she was basically completely immobile. So we ended up in the ER for hours until she got the appropriate shots and such. When we left she was telling all the hospital staff how nice they were and was promising to bake pies for all of them. (Oh, and by the time we left the ER that time I was almost at the point where *I* needed the ER because a kidney stone chose that evening to make itself known as well, but I managed to get home and take my own pain RX and make it through.)

This time….

About 24 hours ago as we were leaving Amy’s first bass lesson with her new teacher Brandy fell on a wet step. She thought she had twisted her ankle. When it was no better this morning she made a Doctor appointment.

Turns out she fractured her leg just above the ankle. The primary care Dr was not allowed by VA rules to do much of anything. At least not and have VA pay for it. Brandy paid for a temporary splint anyway even though it would not be covered. But they told her she had to go to the actual VA hospital to get a longer term cast or walking boot and crutches and such.

So here we are, in the waiting room at the hospital ER (since the rest of the place is closed). We’ll probably be here a decent number of hours before we are done.

Two out of three years isn’t enough. We need to make this an annual Thanksgiving family tradition. Perhaps we can take turns on who is in need of urgent medical attention each year though. No need for Brandy to do it every year. We can set up a rotation!

Here and Gone

This morning it was sunny. For the first time in weeks it seemed. And for a few hours my mood was also lifted. It was sunny! It was a good day! I was actually feeling somewhat upbeat for the first time in a long time.

Then it started raining again. If the weather guy on TV this morning is correct, after today this November will officially be the rainest month ever recorded in Seattle since they started keeping records of such things. It is grey. It is gloomy.

Weather aside, I haven’t been in a very positive mood these last few weeks anyway. The sun this morning was a nice change. Too bad it only lasted about 5 hours.

When I first got here in January we had a record streak of some 40 days in a row with rain or some such. Now we have the most rain in a single month (with plenty of time left in the month for more). Yay!

Ya know, what they say about Seattle winters does appear to be true. Six months of darkness and gloom. Hibernation really would be a good option.

Wake me up in March.

Kitty and the Wrench

Once Again, Not Me

Teens Arrested
(Steven Elbow, The Capital Times)

Madison police arrested two teens for allegedly making bomb threats at West High School.

Sam Minter, 17, and a 16-year-old girl allegedly made the threats at about 10:30 a.m. on Monday. School district spokesman Ken Syke said the threats did not disrupt classes.

Dead Sea

Amy explains her group’s display on the Dead Sea Scrolls to a passerby. Right now the ENTIRE school (6th to 10th grades) is here at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center showing their trimester projects… all on various aspects of the Dead Sea scrolls. The museum is closed, it is just the kids, teachers and parents. After the time for everybody to see the school projects is over we’ll all go in and see the museum’s actual exhibit of some of the scrolls and related artifacts.

All very cool. Eastside Prep is definately working out very well and is a good match for Amy. She loves school and is showing lots of enthusiasm every day and a strong desire to work and do as well as she possibly can. And they do fun things like this!