Archives: February 2005

Sun 27 Feb 2005

Not Us

We got some very heavy rains... mostly while Brandy and Amy were at home and I was at work for a Sunday meeting... but just heavy rain. The pool overflowed, but did so as designed out into the grass and not into the house. And we had a little leak in the ceiling over the lanai. The roofers had been back to fix that once before, and will be back to fix it again. Covered under warentee for the new roof installed in December. But anyway, no real damage, just lots and lots of rain. Other people not too far from us were not that lucky....

Five injured, 14 homes damaged in Palm Bay tornado

PALM BAY, Fla. -- A tornado touched down Sunday, destroying at least 14 homes and injuring at least five people, city officials said.

One woman was struck by debris as she worked in her yard when the tornado came through shortly before 2 p.m., said city spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez. The woman was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. The other injuries were less serious, Martinez said.

The National Weather Service office in Melbourne confirmed an F1 tornado -- with winds of 73 mph to 112 mph -- touched down in the Palm Bay area.


Abulsme - Sun, 27 Feb 2005, 18:42:57 PST
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Thu 24 Feb 2005

First Ten

First ten things to come to mind to blog as I surf the websites I check regluarly (see left column):

* I'm in the New York area for business, and this time I am not sick! Woo! One of my co-workers is sick though, so I guess it all balances out. Matt from my previous job now joins me at my current job. He is a great addition. Today was his first day. We started him right out at a client. It went very well. It is now snowing hard. Tomorrow morning's meetings might be messy. (OK, that one wasn't from my usual sites, it was from what it going on, just throwing it in.)

* My mom reprints an article by my dad on drops in donations to Africa after the tsunami. No real thoughts here by me, just a note, and a link to complete the three way family article linkage.

* Brandy is posting again. Apperantly she has found and unpacked the tarot.

* A thread on the TivoCommunity site links to a site with pictures of all sorts of incidents with planes. I immediatley thought Ivan would like this.

* Rumors of Apple Buying Tivo: This has been going around for awhile, but seems to have gotten more attention in the last few days. I wouldn't lay odds on it happening, but I would be quite happy if it did. Tivo was great, but has been struggling lately to stay in the game and keep ahead of the rapidly approaching competition. An infusion of Apple influence and money might be one of the only ways to get it back in shape to stay the best. And Apple has a long track record of knowing how to survive as a premium product with low market share for those who care more about the total quality of the product than the cost.

* Earlier this week I finally got a Florida Driver's licence. Woo! Go me! (Also not from a site, but hey!)

* A little while ago the GPS Info noted that Garmin posted the manual to the new Street Pilot c330. Unfortunately it looks like they DID dumb down the interface, removing some of the geek features that I like. So my object of GPS lust remains for now the Street Pilot 2620.

* The bulb on my InFocus X1 reached the end of its life span and popped a few days ago. At the moment we are watching TV on a rtegular old fashioned TV. It makes me very sad. There are other priorities in the budget though, so it will be awhile until we get a new bulb for the thing.

* Speaking of Tivo, the kinds of applications that are being developed now that Tivo has released their developmetn kit are really cool. I honestly thought this would mostly be lame, but some of these are actually interesting and useful. It will be interesting to see how they capitalize on this sort of thing going forward. (Found through PVRBlog.)

* I am in a hotel, away from home. There will be a meeting with a client in the morning if the weather allows, then lunch, then it will be time to be home. Looking forward to it. Home is nice. I like being home. A nice weekend relaxing and doing things around the house. Sounds fun. :-)


Abulsme - Thu, 24 Feb 2005, 16:38:13 PST
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Tue 22 Feb 2005

Spider Map

Ever since we moved into the new house, as I drove home from various places (mostly work) I have been envisioning in my mind what I am calling a Spider Map. When Google Maps came out a few weeks ago, it gave me a quick easy way to do it. I did a few arms of the spider each day at lunch or at the end of the day. Today the map had 20 arms, so I decided it was time to publish at least a first draft. I may add new arms later.

image

Just the small inline version for now. Maybe someday I will post a larger scale version. Maybe when I have 50 arms. The full size version is 1800 pixels square or so. (This one is 400 pixels square.)

Anyway, for those who can't tell, this is a map showing the routes to my house from various test points. I used my Random Spot Tool to pick random spots within a 15 mile radius of my house. (The blue border is at the 15 mile mark, the blue dot is my house.) I then asked Google Maps to give me the best route from that spot back to my house. With points in the water or points that were not "near" a road Google refused to give a route. I threw out those points. Can't drive home from those places anyway. Then I marked those routes in red (and the test points in green). Slowly I added arms.

With 20 test points (arms) it looks pretty cool. It shows all the basic approaches and some of the structure of the area. I want to do some more arms, because I want to explore exactly where the dividing lines are between the three main branches approaching my house. Especially the two northern branches, because I often find myself between them, and knowing where the boundary is would actually have a useful purpose in my daily life.

Of course though, usefullness had nothing to do with why I did this. It has just been driving me crazy every day on the drives to and from home wondering exactly what this would look like. So I had to do it.

And it looks cool.

I've saved the big photoshop file with the 20 arms. Think over the next month I'll make 25 and 50 arm versions. Maybe even a 75 or 100 arm version. At some point it will get too cluttered to look pretty, but the dividing lines will stand out more. It will be fun though!

I might do a spider map centered on work too. Or maybe one at a 100 mile scale instead of a 15 mile scale... or any number of variations.

This was fun. I must do more.


Abulsme - Tue, 22 Feb 2005, 14:41:48 PST
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Sat 19 Feb 2005

That's Not Chocolate!

One year ago today I sent this email to some of my friends and family. Because it was at a sensitive time and the new job was not yet final, I did not post it. One year later, I feel free to relate this story publically. Originally emailed 2005 Feb 20 17:35:18 UTC.

This is another non-web SPF. Please consider confidential until I give information more widely.

This morning the guy from Accent in Florida called. Got my voice mail at first. Wanted to finalize what we needed to to move forward. Brandy was on the bed still recovering from her back problem. Zuri was flying around the room. I considered going to another room where it would be more quiet, but I ended up staying there and I called back half an hour later. Got his voice mail. A few seconds later, he called back. Just as the phone was ringing, I saw some icing from Brandy's birthday cake on the bed. So I scooped it up on one finger. Then I answered the Phone and said "Hello Pete" just as I licked the chocolate icing off my finger.

Then I got a sinking feeling. Brandy's cake had not had chocolate icing. I quickly said, "Can you hold on a second Pete" and put him on hold. Brandy asked "What's wrong????". I said "That wasn't chocolate!!!". Yes, indeed, I'd scooped up a finger full of Zuri's poop and shoved it in my mouth. Yum!

I spent a minute or so spitting out as much as I could and swigging some drinks to get the horrible taste out of my mouth. Then I got back to Pete... while both Brandy and I were still working to stifle our laughter. "That's not chocolate!"

Anyway, long and short of it, I think we now have an agreement on how they will do relocation expenses. That's on top of the verbal agreement on salary and other things we came to last week.

So, next steps are us finalizing the verbal agreements in writing. I'm writing up a summary of all our agreements this afternoon, which hopefully they will take and put into the formal offer and FedEx to me next week.

This is getting close to being a done deal. After everything is formally signed and legal and official, we'll start the process of putting this house on the market and finding one down there. I'm looking at a potential start date of March 15th if the deal gets signed next week, but the first couple months I'd split my time down there and up here.

I'm hoping everything will be official by the end of next week.

Crossing my fingers!

I'll of course send out a full announcement to the world, post on my blog, and all that sort of thing once things are fully official and legal.
Yesterday while Amy was with me at work after school, she told the story to a couple of people at work, so I figure the cat is out of the bag. Yes Pete, I accidentally ate bird poop while on the phone with you negotiating for the position down here. Oops. :-)


Abulsme - Sat, 19 Feb 2005, 09:17:32 PST
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Fri 18 Feb 2005

Gideon Arrived

I should have posted right after I got the phone call from Chris a day and a half or so ago, but I didn't. I think I went to sleep instead. I also should have asked insightful freindly questions about how it went and how everybody felt and if he was cute and all that. But I didn't. I was just kinda like "Uh, OK, Congratulations." But that didn't mean I wasn't excited, it just meant I was toungetied and unsure of the right thing to say at that moment. I felt like such a dork. I *am* such a dork! After I got off the phone I was all excited and thought of things to say.

So, Erica added a comment to the last post on Rebecca's Blog on Wednesday evening that officially said it, so I'll quote here:

Yep, Yep, Yep

Gideon Hart Morrow was born at 5:35 p.m. 8.2 lbs and 21.5 inches. Reb, baby, and Chris are all doing fine!
Congratulations Rebecca and Chris. Welcome to parenthood. I know nothing about the baby years, but I know what having a 9 year old is like. So, enjoy! :-) Can't wait to see all of you again and meet Gideon in person. Don't know when it will be possible, but hopefully before too long!


Abulsme - Fri, 18 Feb 2005, 04:13:27 PST
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Wed 16 Feb 2005

Timing is Everything

image
(Note: The date scale on the chart is wrong. Damn bugs in Quicken. It actually shows 17 Feb 2000 to 16 Feb 2005 for AAPL.)

Yup, my investing skills rock!! I am awesome!

To my credit though, I had no intention of selling. It wasn't because I didn't think Apple would come back. I was sure it would actually. My plan had actually been to never sell any stock I ever bought, just keep it for decades and decades and see what happened. Well, at least to never sell it because of how it was doing, but rather only if I needed the cash for something. I *wanted* to keep it. But in early 2004 what with being unemployed and all at the time, I did indeed need a jolt of cash. So while I kept some mutual funds, I sold all but one share each of each of the stocks I had at the time. I kept those single shares just for sentiments sake, and also just to make me keep watching "what if" I had kept the rest.

*EVERYTHING* I sold at that point (with the exception of Tivo) has gone up. Some quite nicely. But Apple... OUCH! My timing was just about perfect on that one. I bought it mere weeks before it crashed through the floor. Then I sold it mere weeks before it skyrocketed through the ceiling. Go me!!

Oh well! I'm sure I'll get to the point where I am all set to be buying again, load up on some Apple again, just in time for it to crash again. :-) [To be fair to myself, I've had some good timing too, I did very nicely on GRMN, more than doubling my money in a relatively short time... although I would have made even more keeping it longer.] But on Apple... once more, OUCH!

But hey, on the flip side, last night coming home on the plane they upgraded me to first class for no apperant reason, so that was cool.

Oh yeah, and while I won't post anything here before she posts herself, I hear the Jackal will have some news before that much longer. :-)


Abulsme - Wed, 16 Feb 2005, 17:53:57 PST
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Sun 13 Feb 2005

Always a Fever

In about 20 minutes I am leaving for the airport. Two day business trip to Manhattan. At the moment I have a fever that is bouncing around a little, but is averaging 102. I should probnably make a graph. It started suddenly a few hours ago. I think it is once related to kidney stones... according to the ultrasounds last month I still have 2 or 3 floating around up there causing trouble. Based on other symptoms that started at the exact same time, I think that is the most likely explaination, but it could be something else. Dunno. But it seems like the last several times I've headed to NYC, I've always had SOMETHING wrong. It sucks.

I have taken appropriate medications. Hopefully that will break the fever in the next few hours and I won't be walking dead when I get to the client tomorrow morning. But I certainly am now. Even driving to the airport and getting on my plane will be a chore. I plan to be unconcious as soon as I am seated and the plane takes off.


Abulsme - Sun, 13 Feb 2005, 10:36:26 PST
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Sat 12 Feb 2005

New Graph: Steps

It has been awhile, so time for another new graph! Only a couple more new ones in the works before I start updating the old ones again.

Abulsme.com Steps Chart

As I was packing or unpacking or doing something to boxes in October 2004, I found a pedometer I'd boght years before.  I started noting the results daily.  A few days later I lost it.  I found it again at some point in December and started up again.  But I kept reseting the pedometer by mistake.  So for Christmas Brandy got me a new one with a cover.  This was much better, and seemed to give more accurate results.  I wore it all the time.  But it kept falling off my belt and I had to tape shut the cover.  Eventually I lost it.  So Brandy's mother gave me a new one. In any case, the graph of how many steps I take per day continues...
So, given that, perhaps I'll go walk some more...


Abulsme - Sat, 12 Feb 2005, 14:05:27 PST
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Thu 03 Feb 2005

Some Thoughts on Some Things

I haven't been posting all to regularly on random things I see and have thoughts on, because I have been too busy. Most of my posts have been "What is happening with me" updates lately. Which may be more or less interesting depending on your perspective.

Anyway, here are a few short thoughts on a few things.

* Brandy hasn't posted lately. Wonder what is up with her.

* Al is absolutely right on Kerry's irrelevance at this point. And the democrats in general are still just damaging thermselves more and more rather than putting up any actual viable alternative thoughts. I'm obviously no W fan, but the Dems are not providing any alternative I can warm to.

* Rebecca is about to have a Gideon. She "got my hair and nails done so Gideon's first impression of his mother won't be too grubby". Yup. That'll work. Anyway, very exciting.

* Tivo makes me mad. They have so badly mismanaged what they have. Over the last year they have basically stood still with their product. What innovations they have made seem to me either as distractions (looking at your pictures on your TV) or just done badly and late (TivoToGo), and meanwhile not doing many things that would improve the platform. And on the business side they have let important deals slip though their fingers. DirecTV is clowly pushing them out in favor of their own product. (And has not released the new feaures that Tivo HAS added to their stand alone system, so it makes the comparison even worse.) They had a deal with Comcast almost done but then said no... A year ago while there were cheaper alternatives out there, none was BETTER than an actual Tivo. Especially the DirecTV combo unit. But Tivo has stood still. Now the others are catching up and nipping at Tivo's heels. Factoring in price concerns, in terms of VALUE (as opposed to actual quality not considering price) some are probably already ahead. In a year, unless Tivo does something dramatic, they will no longer be the best. I love my Tivo. But only as long as they are the best thing out there. As soon as there is a better option (not just value, but actually BEST) I'll switch. It will make me sad though.

* Star Trek: Enterprise cancelled. Oh well. Haven't had time to watch anyway.

* Johnny Carson: Makes me sad. I used to watch all the time. And I'd forgotton a lot of it. But one time a few years ago I was on a bus ride. Can't remember why or where. But they were playing Best of Carson stuff on the TVs in the bus. And I couldn't stop laughing. I put the Carson DVD sets on my Q at Netflix.

* Atlas 3B: Another rocket launched last night. A classified NRO payload. Presumably a spy satellite. I set my alarm to go off 40 minutes before (at 2 AM), but I didn't realize I was hitting the snooze button every 10 minutes until 40 minutes after the liftoff. I slept through it. This sucks, cause you can see the launches pretty well right from my back porch, and the night ones especially are really nice to watch. You can't see the actual pad of course, but you can see them a few seconds later once they are in the air. Since I have been full time in Florida (since 1 Jul 2004) there have been 8 launches (Messenger on 3 Aug 2004, NRO on 31 Aug 2004, GPS 2R-13 on 6 Nov 2004, Swift on 20 Nov 2004, AMC 16 on 17 Dec 2004, Delta 4 Demo on 21 Dec 2004, Deep Impact on 12 Jan 2005 and NRO on 3 Feb 2005). Of those I have seen 4 I think. Messenger, Swift, Delta 4 Demo and Deep Impact. I am told by folks here that you stop even noticing. I still notice and get annoyed when I miss one. I like watching them.

* State of the Union: I Tivoed it. Have not watched it yet. I may comment on it here. I may not. We'll see if I am inspired.

* Work: Work has been going well. I've been having a lot of fun lately. It has been busy, but good busy. We were really stressing on a few things the last few weeks, but looks like everything is going to come together in good ways. Good. Also, there has been some turnover. Some people leaving, some new people arriving. It should be a good refresh. Lots of fresh new faces. There may be more info before too long on that. But nothing yet.

* Apple: That Mini is really cool. With the price I really want one. With a few added features, not the bottom of the line, but still... it is nice. They released ne powerbooks this week too. Which is of course what I REALLY want... I don't want to go back to using a desktop. They are so confining! But laptops are of course a lot more for the same level of performance. And these aren't the much awaited G5s, which may be awhile yet. BUt still. Anyway, new laptop isn't in the works right now. But maybe a mini could be done by summer once we get all the basic settling in and getting situated done. Dunno. We will see. I’m a little annoyed though. Early 2004 when I was briefly “without job” before coming down there I needed cash flow, so I sold a bunch of stock and mutual funds and such. Some of that sale was all but one share of what I owned of Apple stock. It wasn’t a huge amount to begin with, but it was something. Given the run up in Apple, the gains in the last year would not be enough to get a PowerBook, but it would be plenty to buy a Mini! Oh well! That one share is doing awesome though!

* Iraqi Election: Seems like a complete success so far. And yes, I've read some of the things (Juan Cole for instance) that point out all the negatives. But on balance, this is very good and very exciting. We have a long way to go yet, but at the moment things are looking positive. If W actually manages to pull this all off against the odds and we end up with a good result when we look back at Iraq several years from now, I'll give him full credit.

* Howard Dean: They really don't want to win in 2008, do they?

* Garmin: They finally got an automotive deal! Garmin GPS (dealer installed option) on Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. Woo! I wish they had gotten more, but this will do. I like Garmin's interface and feature sets more than all the built in systems I have gotten a chance to play with (not many). Just so long as they don't dumb it down for the car.

* Superbowl: I plan to Tivo it and fast forward through the game (couldn't care less) and watch the commercials.

OK. That's it. I've just been adding these quick notes off and on between other things as I think of them all morning. I'm done now.


Abulsme - Thu, 3 Feb 2005, 06:08:09 PST
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Tue 01 Feb 2005

Receive Your List

On January 30th 2003 I joined Kelly from work going to a kareoke thing in Willow Grove, PA.

Early on January 31st, I sent Kelly an email, which amoung other things included this passage:

"Also remind me, the one to the right of me that you sang with asked what kind of music I liked and I had no adequate answer, so I was going to send you a listing of the last 25-50 things I listened to which you could send her to answer the question.  But I’ll do that later.  :-)"

Kelly replied a few hours later:

"Her name is Brandy.  I am sure she will be thrilled to receive your list.  She is an odd one too.  She seemed to be interested in your random vacation idea.  I am sure she will want to see your web page."

Kinda missed the exact day with all that has been going on. But that means it has been 2 years since Brandy and I met. Woo! Go two years! (It took us like 10 months after that before we were actually dating of course, but anyway...)

First actual email I can find from Brandy wasn't until March 22nd though, when she emailed:

"Where were you when we needed you?"

That was after I skipped a kareoke I think. I thought at first that the email was spam and almost missed answering it. Oops.


Abulsme - Tue, 1 Feb 2005, 03:41:43 PST
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Mon 31 Jan 2005

Over the Hump

Further update... Brandy's mom came out of her procedure a little earlier this evening and was chatting and joking with Brandy before falling asleep in the recovery room for the night. All went very well. She is scheduled to be released from the hospital tomorrow. She'll then come home and stay with us until her doctors declare her strong enough to travel. Which may be as soon as the end of this week, but most likely will be a bit longer than that.

In any case, looks like the worst is past, and she will be back here soon, and in fact will stay for a considerably longer visit than originally planned! Which is nice, although this isn't quite the way one might have wished for a longer visit!


Abulsme - Mon, 31 Jan 2005, 17:57:29 PST
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