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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December 2006
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Lux Reduxing

OK, we’re at Denny’s now, but I can see on my webcam that the power is back already. Hooray!

Lux Reduxing

OK, we’re at Denny’s now, but I can see on my webcam that the power is back already. Hooray!

Antilux Redux

And here we were getting all smug. We had our power back after 18 hours. Meanwhile a quarter million folks still had nothing.

So of course a few minutes ago the power went out again. In the distance we heard a huge pop as some transformer (or something) exploded.

So it will probably be a bit before the power comes back again.

We’re going out to get ice cream.

18 Hours

Power came back on at 02:50:29 UTC (minus the time it took my computer to reboot). So it was out almost exactly 18 hours. Not too bad at all. Woo! It is good to have tricity again!

Just a couple other notes about the storm though…

In my last post I forgot to mention that on the way home, as I was crossing the bridge on the interstate in the poring rain, my wipers stopped working and I couldn’t see a thing. Not even two inches in front of me, let alone more. I drove the rest of the way across the bridge poking my head out the window every few seconds to make sure I was not going to hit anything, and going 20 miles per hour with my blinkers on. It was quite nerve-racking. In any case, I got to the other side of the bridge, got pulled over onto a side street, and then was able to fix my wipers… they had hit each other and gotten jammed such that playing with the controls inside the car hadn’t been able to free them. Then I went the rest of the way home.

Tonight as I left work I knew I needed gas. I went past my normal exit by a bit to the next gas station. No electricity. Closed. Went back in the other direction where I had seen an open station… but with a huge line. I ended up waiting in line at the gas station almost an hour to fill up my tank. I just finally got home, an hour and a half after leaving work.

But the lights are on. Woo!

We are the Bringers of Wind

For those who may have been heading about the wind storm in this part of the country last night (article here)… we are indeed fine. Like about a million other people, we have no power. The fence separating the house we are renting from the neighbors also partially fell down, and we have some fallen and in danger of falling branches on trees, but that is about it.

Apperantly this is the worst wind the area has seen since at least 1993, and perhaps 1962. Of course, after 2004 and 2005 in Florida, we just lift up our heads and go “Ha!” cause this is nothing compared to any of the storms that brushed us then. But it is still going to be a major pain. Judging by the last thumbnail from my webcam which was uploaded to abulsme.com the power went out within five minutes of 08:48:53 UTC this morning. Which means so far it has been out about 11 hours. The news is saying it might be around a week before everyone has power back.

Right now Brandy’s biggest worry is our skink Mike, who is of course cold-blooded and will not do well at all if the temperature in the house falls much below 65 and stays there. And if we are without power for days, the temperature may well fall into the 40’s or below in the house before we’re done. The two remaining birds will also have difficulty in the cold. So we’ll have to resolve those things.

Anyway, I got into work today… two hours late or so between talking to the neighbor about the fence and the tarffic caused by no traffic lights and one of the two bridges to Seattle from the Eastside being closed. I am now at work. Looks like about 50% made it in and the rest are trying to work from home if they have power. I’ve got some stuff to do, and will get onto it momentarily, but I thought I’d put the “we’re OK” update for anybody checking in.

The James Kim Situation

I’m still a bit late on the blog punch, but while it was happening my eye was drawn to the James Kim events as they played out. I really didn’t want to pay attention. I wanted to ignore it. But it resonated because of these days:

And some others that were not on random vacations and so I don’t have the full story with pictures and dates and times posted… but more things like that… where I have gotten myself into potentially sticky situations… have happened, as I tend to really enjoy exploring areas off the beaten path, and it just happens sometimes when you do that. What James Kim did… take a interesting looking back road as a potential shortcut… is definately somehting I would do.

Now, I’d like to think that in each of those cases I was actually prepared and knew the risks and made sure that while I was in situations that if they went wrong could get unpleasant, would not actually become life threatening. That I was always close enough to help that if I got stranded I could easily get to somewhere and get appropriate help. I’d like to think that I’d not take that interesting back road through the mountains in the middle of the winter… that I’d know not to do that, even if it looked tempting. But… I could see myself maybe tempting fate.

The reality is that on any of those days I listed above, or on a few others, even on those trips, had the right series of things gone wrong, I would have been in deep trouble. Even aside from getting the car stuck in a ditch and such… for instance 19 May 2002.

Nothing went wrong. No bad things happened. But for the majority of the time I was alone, out of cellphone coverage, and over 40 miles from the nearest (tiny) town and fairly far from any roads that had regular traffic. If I had a flat tire or run out of gas (as almost happened), I would have been in trouble, but I know I could have gotten to help, as unpleasant and inconvienant as it would have been. I knew the way out, and it was walkable. And it was spring and I had a tent and a sleeping bag, so I probably wasn’t going to freeze, even if I had to camp overnight (as I’d done earlier that trip when I got the truck stuck).

But… if while climbing the step hill/mountain my random spot was on I had sprained my ankle or broken my leg or something… then I would have been screwed. It would have been bad. And just a couple more bad pieces of luck on top of that could make it REALLY bad in a hurry. OK, several bad things would have had to happen, not just one… but still… those things do happen. The Kim’s are proof of that. On any number of occations, things could have gotten to the point where my life was in danger.

I thought I was being slightly reckless enough to make it fun, but not so reckless as to actually make it dangerous. And every one of my random trips WAS very fun. I had a blast and miss doing that. But more carefullness is clearly in order.

I haven’t done a random trip in awhile. And the presense of Brandy and Amy most likely being with me will certainly make the next trip a bit tamer, and we’re a bit less likely to go trooping off into the jungle in search of the exact random spot as I might well do if I was alone or with Chad or something, but still…

Next time we do a trip… hopefully in 2007 to Quintana Roo… I think we are going to need to rent (or buy) one of these or perhaps one of these. Or maybe even both. They are expensive, but if one is going to be going off somewhere where if something happens someone isn’t going to find you right away and you might not be able to call for help in normal ways… I’m thinking they might be good investments.

Iraq Report Thoughts

Yes, I am a few days late… I wanted to get those other two post out, and the next few.. in the order I originally thought of them… to catch up as it were… so that of course means several posts are being posted days after they were relevant, and after many others have also said things, so they just don’t have the same oompf as if I’d posted them the instant I thought of them, which I probably should have done. For instance, I started reading the Iraq report the hour it was released, and thought of what I was going to say here that same hour, but just didn’t post it, until now, days later, when it is stupid, but what the hell, I’ll post it anyway, even though at this point many people have said similar things. Too bad, I’ll say it anyway.

Anyway… I have not read the whole report. I wanted to do so the day it came out, but then I had other things to do both at work and at home, so I didn’t. But even just starting, even on the very first pages, was a quote that told you everything you had to know. From the Executive Summary:

What we recommend in this report demands a tremendous amount of political will and cooperation by the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government. It demands skillful implementation. It demands unity of effort by government agencies. And its success depends on the unity of the American people in a time of political polarization. Americans can and must enjoy the right of robust debate within a democracy. Yet U.S. foreign policy is doomed to failure—as is any course of action in Iraq—if it is not supported by a broad, sustained consensus.

And that ladies and gentlemen is all you have to know. Because if that is what is required, then the rest of the report is completely irrelevant. They just stated up front that it is impossible in the current climate to do what would in their opinion need to be done. There is no consensus. There will be no consensus in the near future. Any plan that requires it is nothing but a futile intellectual exercise. Let alone “skillful implementation”. Ha! We’re done here. No need to read any more of the report.

Cinema: Happy Feet

A couple of weekends ago now we went to see Happy Feet. I’d been wanting to see it since I saw the first trailer for it. It looked really cute. And well… it was cute. There were a few points where I was like “Hey, that doesn’t make sense!” But then I remembered… it is a movie about singing penguins. And, when you have happy singing and dancing penguins, can you really complain about little plot holes here and there? No, not really. Just look at the happy singing dancing penguins and shut up.

I had fun though. Liked the movie a decent bit. I must say it didn’t quite live up to expectations. But it was fun. I might even see this one again someday. But not this year.

Book: The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government: Volume II

Author: Jefferson Davis
Started: 10 Jul 2006
Finished: 18 Nov 2006
662p / 102d
6 p/d

The Amazon listing linked from the cover picture doesn’t say it explicitly and has the wrong cover shown, but if you look at the search inside the book you can tell it is indeed Volume 2. Anyway… I finished Volume I in November 2005. I had really enjoyed it, and this summer decided it was time to read Volume II. Volume I was about the time leading up to the Civil War, and a lot of time was spent on Davis’s analysis of the legal and constitutional underpinnings of his view of state’s rights and of the right to succession. And then continuing with a chronology of the actual succession of the various Southern states, the formation of the confederacy, the drafting of the confederate constitution, the events which led up to the start of hostilities, etc. I found all of this exceptionally fascinating. Looking at all of these things from a viewpoint that is rarely given these days.

Volume II was interesting, but no where near as much so. It was mostly about the war itself. Battles and troop movements and the ebb and flow of the war effort itself. To some, this would be the interesting part. To me, this was the least interesting aspect of the entire affair. There was a bit more of the philosophical stuff in this one, and toward the end some very interesting aspects about the beginnings of the reconstruction period and the workings of the initial Federal occupation and clamp down on the former Confederate states. But whereas MOST of the previous volume was related to these aspects that I found extremely compelling to read about, in this volume it was in the minority, and was overwhelmed by the nitty gritty of the war itself.

Even in these portions I learned quite a bit, not having done any extensive study of the civil war in the past. And it was interesting… just not as interesting to me. It was definitely worth reading for completeness. But if you had to pick just one of these two volumes, Volume I would be the one to pick.

Today’s Lesson

That whole thing about what assuming makes? Yup. Gotta remember never to assume anything and always make sure everything is explicit. I keep learning that but eventually forgetting it again. Can’t ever forget that.

Thats it for now.

Sometime in the next few days I have to catch up on some posting. I have one book I finished and one movie I saw that I haven’t posted about yet. And I should do more ancestors soon too. Not to mention other things that might be worth commenting on… for instance… it looks like Roscoe has learned the “and now bring it back” part of “Fetch”.