Archives: April 2006

Sun 30 Apr 2006

New Deepest Relative

Just sent this to some of my relatives. Thought I would share here too. I've been having fun lately researching family trees and such. I have a nice big chart and spreadsheet with hundreds of ancestors listed, which I will probably eventally post. But here is my latest update (with some slight edits for clarity). I made a nice exciting find today!

From: Me
Subject: New Deepest Relative
Date: April 30, 2006 08:02:18 GMT
To: Grandmother, Father, Mother, Brandy, Cynthia

Spent some more time today doing genealogical internet searches using a bunch of the information Grandmother sent me in December as a starting point. Before today the deepest chain I'd found was on my Mother's side (15 generations deep), but I found a deeper one today on the other side. There are still some paths I haven't yet researched, but as of now, this is the farthest back I have gotten...

(0) Samuel Antonio Minter (1971-) of Wisconsin son of
(1) William Maynard Minter (1942-) of District of Columbia son of
(2) David Ramseur Minter (1912-1991) of Arizona son of
(3) William Ramseur Minter (1873-1943) of South Carolina son of
(4) John Russell Minter (1833-1913) of [South Carolina?] son of
(5) William Carter Minter (1797-1871) of South Carolina son of
(6) Jane Gillham (1773-1834) of South Carolina daughter of
(7) Thomas Newton Gillham Jr (1749-1828) of Virginia son of
(8) Margaret Gay Campbell (1725-1776) of Virginia daughter of
(9) William Campbell (????-1754) of Ireland son of
(10) John Campbell (1674-1741) of Ireland son of
(11) Duncan Campbell (1645-????) of Ireland son of
(12) Andrew Campbell (1609-????) of Ireland son of
(13) Hugh Campbell (1579-????) of Ireland son of
(14) Patrick Campbell (1544-????) of Ireland son of
(15) Duncan Campbell (1504-????) of Scotland son of
(16) Dugal Campbell (1474-????) of Scotland

Dugal lived in Inverary, Argyll, Scotland and was born in the "Ancestry Home of the Clan Campbell" according to one source I found.

Anyway, that's the longest chain I've got so far. Although there are a bunch of other interesting chains too on both sides of the family. And I still have yet to Google many of the names on my chart.

Plus, I still haven't even cracked the info that was sent to me by Mom today on the ancestors going back from my mother's father's mother (Mary Evelyn VanTilbergh). But it is late, so that will have to wait for another day...

Oh no...

I decided to look for five more minutes, and I found Dugal's father... verified it because the same source shows Duncan as on of his kids, and Patrick as one of his kids, and Hugh as one of his kids... Some of the years are a bit off from the ones I had before (by just a few years) but four generations of names matching up would be a pretty big coincidence. Just checking more generations, they are still matching. Hugh has a son Andrew... who has a son Duncan... who has a son John... who has a son William... who is reported to have married Sarah Gay, who is who I have him marrying from my earlier research. Definitely the same Dugal Campbell.

And I am checking so hard to be sure because this listing has not only Dugal's father, but fathers upon fathers going back another 600 years or so... It will take me many hours to incorporate this information....

This is a huge 2 Megabyte text file listing all the descendants of Duncan, Lord of Mormaer (born around the year 950). Myself, Cynthia, Dad and Grandmother are all apparently descended from this guy. This file gets me the direct line from us all the way Back to Duncan.

Duncan was the father of Crinan of Dunkeld, who has a Wikipedia entry...


Also of course Crinan of Dunkeld was married to the daughter of King Malcom II of Scotland (and the children of Crinan we are descended from are her children)... so she is in our line too, and I am pretty sure I'll probably be able to go back even further in that line...

Yup, with just a few clicks on Wikipedia I can go back 150 more years to this guy:

Kenneth I of Scotland

Born around 800 AD, later to become the first King of Scotland... and a direct verifiable ancestor.

Filling out the years between 800 and 1474 AD in my spreadsheet I'm using to track all this will have to wait until at least tomorrow... it will take me many hours. And it is very late. Time for bed.

Hmmm... I'll Blog this first...

Abulsme - Sun, 30 Apr 2006, 01:02:45 PDT
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Sat 29 Apr 2006

Caprica Dawn

Do we need this? I like BSG. This may be OK. But Spinoffs are always spotty. Sometimes they work, sometimes they do not. We'll see how Torchwood goes too. Lots of potentially interesting but potentially horrible spinoffs in the works!

'Galactica' Prequel on Tap at Sci Fi

The Sci Fi Channel will delve into the backstory of "Battlestar Galactica" with a new series that looks at the years leading up to humanity's devastation by the Cylons.

The prequel, called "Caprica," heads a list of development projects the cable network unveiled Wednesday.


"Caprica" will be set more than 50 years prior to the events of "Battlestar Galactica" and focus on the lives of two families -- the Adamas (ancestors of future Galactica commander William) and the Graystones. Humankind's Twelve Colonies are at peace and on the verge of a technological breakthrough: the first Cylon.

As "Battlestar Galactica" is about a lot more than space battles, "Caprica" will be as much family drama as sci-fi tale. Remi Aubuchon ("The Lyon's Den," "24") is writing the pilot script; "Galactica" veterans Ronald D. Moore and David Eick will executive produce it.
(via TivoCommunity)

Abulsme - Sat, 29 Apr 2006, 10:20:51 PDT
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The Voices in my Head

Yet more new features to the Abulcam! Actually, the return of a feature that was on the original AbulCam many years ago, but went away at one point when the function wasn't supported in the updated software I had. I bypassed the camera software and got it done seperately....

In any case, while viewing the AbulCam you can now, for the first time in many years, type a message, hit a button, and that message will be read out loud on my computer using Apple's text to speech features. Unlike the AbulCam of many years ago, you actually get to pick the voice yourself rather than that being something I set on my end.

So anyway, visit the AbulCam and talk all you want.

Of course, if people get too obnoxious, I can always turn it back off.

Abulsme - Sat, 29 Apr 2006, 02:12:41 PDT
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Thu 27 Apr 2006

MiniTakes 2

OK, I did it again. Noted some interesting URLs during work yesterday, got home tired and didn't do anything useful at all, let alone make blog posts. So here are some more quick Links. I'll limit myself to one sentence of comment on each. Or I'll try anyway.

Nationwide Housing Prices Decline
(David Bernstein, The Volokh Conspiracy)

MiniTake: Yup, excellent timing, this sucks.

Fight Club Politics
(Juliet Eilperin, The Huffington Post)

MiniTake: This is where the moderates have gone. (Well, this is part of it.) The current division of everything into the crackpot left and the crakpot right, with no sane people in the middle left in positions of power is horribly detrimental. I recommend an automated redistricting algorithm based purely on population distribution and mathematics with a preference toward "simple" boundaries, but with absolutely no regard to pre-existing geographic, political or cultural divisions.

It's Official, I Now Pity George Bush
(Trey Ellis, The Huffington Post)

MiniTake: Just the usual oedipal sort of look at the motivations of George Bush, but I found it humorous.

Clinton nearly ses rocket's red glare
(Norm Clarke, Los Vegas Review-Journal via Drudge Report)

MiniTake: Just amusing... A porn star has a birthday party for her five year old daughter and is about to shoot off some fireworks as part of the party, and the secret service runs up telling her not to set off the fireworks, because Bill Clinton is just a few yards away.

A New Voice
(Canadian Music Creators Coalition via P2PNet via Digg)

MiniTake: Bunches of musicians coming out for file sharing and against the super strict copyright contingent. Good for them.

Treasue Coast Home Sales Drop
(Nadia Gergis, TCPalm)

MiniTake: Mostly about the Treasure Coast, which is not us, but does include a blurb saying that year over year "Home sales in the Melbourne-Palm Bay area decreased 23 percent, while the median price rose 7 percent to $222,500." So price still up year over year, but market slowing greatly.

Da Vinci court papers 'show secret code'
(ITV News)

MiniTake: The judge putting a secret message in his ruling. Very cool.

OK, that's it for now. Maybe more tomorrow, maybe not. Maybe one at a time, maybe all together. Dunno.

Abulsme - Thu, 27 Apr 2006, 08:57:30 PDT
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Wed 26 Apr 2006


Three links to news stories I noticed yesterday wanting to comment on, but then never had time. I figured I'd still pass along the links.

Pro-Taliban Speech Constitutionally Protected, Criticisms of Homosexuality Unprotected (Volokh)

My MiniTake: All forms of speech should be protected, regardless of how it may offend some people, including in many cases myself. This is speech in a public school, which is traditionally more regulated than just regular old speech, but I still think vast deference should be given to the right to be offensive. The desire lately to sanitize and protect people (including kids) from being offended is itself offensive.

(Sidetrack: Having said the above, I have not looked at the actual details of the court case and of course am not doing the lawyer thing, so I can't say if I feel the judge acted correctly... as a very important general principle, it is very often that the correct decision in a court case is one that would result in an incorrect policy... but I would still believe the court decision is correct... one is about interpreting what the law is, the other is about determining what the law should be, and they are completely different questions.)

Coalition Sounds Off on Net Neutrality Legislation (SlashDot)

My MiniTake: Net Neutrality is a good thing. It is the right policy. However, government has no business regulating this one way or the other. The market should decide. If the major telcos decide to introduce tiered service, it would be a bad thing for the public in my opinion. But they own the wires, and they should have that right. Hopefully if they try they will fail, or other companies will provide alternatives. But it is their stuff and they should be able to do whatever the hell they want to with it, even if it isn't the "best thing" as determined by some measure of public good.

The Bill the Hollywood cartels don’t want you to see (IPac)

My MiniTake: Intellectual propery rights need to be rolled back, not strengthened. The idea of IP, both copyright and patent, was to incentivise creators to create more than they would otherwise by providing LIMITED protection of their work from being exploited by others commercially for some period of time. Over the last 50 years this has been extended and expanded over and over again. At this point a very strong argument can be made that these laws and regulations are no longer serving their purpose of encoraging creativity and invention, but instead are outright stifling those tendancies by wrapping everything in rules and lock boxes. This law would be a huge mistake, and a huge further curtailment of individual rights with no balancing benefit other than helping to prop up the failed business model of the entertainment cartels. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if this passed with bipartisan almost unanimous support. That seems to be the trend.

Hmmm, I guess I ended up saying most of what I wanted to say anyway.

Abulsme - Wed, 26 Apr 2006, 09:25:38 PDT
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Mon 24 Apr 2006

Sad Listing

A few seconds ago I emailed our agent all the forms needed to officially list our house in Florida and put it on the market. Doing so makes me sad.

I am not unhappy to be here at this job. It is so much better than the last one that there is no comparison at all. I am not even unhappy to be out of Florida. It isn't a bad place by any means (although Brandy may differ) but I am not attached to the state or even the town. But I am very sad to leave the HOUSE. It felt like home, and it was something I was proud of and enjoyed. It had enough space for the three of us to spread out and still feel comfortable. And I love the lanai and the pool, although we didn't get to use it enough cause by the time the screen was up, I was practically on my way here. I loved the layout and the tile floors. I just liked how it all fit together. It just felt like a home. It felt like a place I could be in for many many years. It felt like a place that could be a place to settle down, not just a place to be for a little while. But it was just not to be.

And here, we're going to be in a dinky little apartment for the short term, in a slightly better and larger apartment for the medium term, and then who knows how long it will be before we buy again, and even then it is most likely going to be smaller and not quite as nice. (Unless something unexpected happens, which could always happen, you never know...) Not saying we won't be able to get something that is OK and nice in its own way, but it will not match the place in Florida. The economic realities of real estate in the two places are just that way.

I may or may not even be able to go back to visit it one last time. That is up in the air. I may have seen it for the last time and not even known it at the time. Sigh.

Don't get me wrong, I actually do like the Seattle area a lot. In many ways I like it more than I liked Florida. And I like the job. And there is absolutely no question that this was the right choice and the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, not just by a little bit, but by a lot. Overall, when all things are considered, in all other aspects of life other than abode, we will be so very much better off here than there...

But that doesn't keep me from being very sad and mourning the loss of my house.

(And yes, I felt the same way about the house in Pennsylvania... I loved that house and still miss it too, although I think I feel this one more strongly.)

The market has slowed to a crawl in Florida though. It may take us longer than we would like to sell it, and we won't make as much as we had once hoped. We would have put it on the market a couple months ago, but there was some work on the house that HAD to be done first, and it wasn't like we were vacating before June anyway.

We'll see how it goes, hopeully it will sell in one or two months, not five or six months. But you never know. The days of selling in a few days are long gone though. And until the day it sells, we're still paying the mortgage, even if we are not there, and that paying for double housing thing makes everything very tight.

Oh well, one way or another it will work out.

And in the end, this is a better place for us than Florida ever was.

Abulsme - Mon, 24 Apr 2006, 14:29:05 PDT
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Reorg #2

Got the official announcement Friday that another reorg is on the way. (It was rumored to be coming ever since the last one, so this is not a surprise.) This will take effect a week from today. This time the reorg will be accompanied by a physical move. Same building, different floor. Moving from the 5th floor to the 1st floor. And I was just told I'll get a ceiling!

Anyway, assuming happens as scheduled, this will make my org history at this job:

Jeff -> Kal -> Mark -> Llew -> Sam (36 days)
Jeff -> Kal -> Scott -> Llew -> Sam (74 days)
Jeff -> Kal -> Colin -> Llew -> Sam (Starting 1 May 2006)

Running average, 55 days per chain of command. From what I hear though, the last one was always going to be temporary, while this one should be longer term. We shall see...

As for direct effect on me... short term shouldn't be any as my direct manager has not changed. Long term it should bring better synergies with some other groups we work with which will end up closer on the org chart to us than they used to be.

Abulsme - Mon, 24 Apr 2006, 10:34:23 PDT
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Sat 22 Apr 2006

AbulCam Timelapse

I was messing around with some other things and had to slightly adjust what I was doing with the AbulCam to let me do it. In the process, I ended up doing something I'd thought about for awhile but never gotten around to. Timelaspe from the AbulCam! So now, when you go to the AbulCam as well as seeing live streaming of the Camera when it is on, you will also always be able to see a timelapse movie of the previous day. Enjoy!

As always, where the camera is pointing will change over time and by my whims. At the moment it is pointed out the window. Sometimes it will be pointed at me. Sometimes at other things. Brandy has respectfully requested that I make sure to have it either off or pointed somewhere else when I am not fully dressed. I will be honoring that request. I am sure that everyone reading this is very glad of that.

In any case, enjoy the timelapse!

Abulsme - Sat, 22 Apr 2006, 18:00:21 PDT
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Empty Lot

Friday I got to work at 15:15 UTC. I was the first one in the lower lot. Wow!

Abulsme - Sat, 22 Apr 2006, 17:18:45 PDT
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Wed 19 Apr 2006

Give Yoga


Got a call earlier today from Sue Schwer, who had been my boss at the financial company which shall not be named from about 1998 to 2000 or so. Turns out that in addition to her turn to the real estate world, more recently she has opened an online store selling Yoga supplies. It is linked above. I don't do the yoga thing myself (although Rebecca has told me in the past that perhaps I should) so I can't make any sort of educated comment on the inventory.

But it sounds like Sue has a good start on her new venture, and I wish her well!

And it is good to catch up with the folks from back then every once in awhile. I guess it was only six years ago, but it seems like many lifetimes ago already.

Abulsme - Wed, 19 Apr 2006, 14:20:34 PDT
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Sat 15 Apr 2006

Season Two


New Earth finished airing in the UK a little over an hour ago kicking off the new season of Doctor Who. Tis a shame it is absolutely impossible to see anywhere else in the world. Quite a shame. Yup. Hmmm... where is the popcorn. I need to start popping.

Abulsme - Sat, 15 Apr 2006, 13:22:56 PDT
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Ten Dalla


A few weeks ago I got one of the new tens for the first time. HATE IT. Too much red. But I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Abulsme - Sat, 15 Apr 2006, 13:05:48 PDT
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Fri 14 Apr 2006

We're Going to Eastside Prep!

Yesterday at lunch I ran a little errand. I went and dropped off the check for our deposit for Amy's school next year. We had applied to six. One was eliminated when we visited because they were a bunch of Jesus freaks. Another was eliminated simply because we never managed to schedule an onsite visit with them and they were not very proactive about anything. Another was eliminated because it was just a little too noisy and urban for us. That left three. They were about equal on our list at the time we saw them, although after visiting both of them, Amy started leaning more and more toward the second one. The two were Forrest Ridge and Eastside Prep. As mentioned, at the moment we walked out of the door after having been to five of the six schools, these were the top two. The third choice was The Bush School.

We got notice from Forest Ridge first. They would like to have Amy as a student... but... they had no spaces left at the moment, but they would put us on a waiting list. We were glad to be in, but I was anxious about the waiting list. I wanted to hurry up and call to find out if we were 2nd in line, or 50th... ie, is there any chance of actually making it off the waiting list this year. Brandy wanted to wait to hear from the other schools.

Next we heard from the Bush school. They would not be offering Amy a spot next year. They had seemed very positive during our visit, but I guess that is the way things go.

Finally we heard from Eastside Prep. Mind you, Eastside Prep was the last school we visited. They sent us their answer just a few days after we visited. It was a yes!

At that point, Brandy (and especially Amy's) mind was completely made up. Amy went around school announcing to everyone that she would be going to a school called Eastside Prep next year and telling all her classmates about the kids she met while visiting the school and some of the things about the school.

I was still holding out to see if we happened to hear from Forrest Ridge again before our deadline for giving Eastside Prep an answer. We did not. Which might be good. If we had gotten that call from Forrest Ridge, it might have been a hard decision. Forrest Ridge has a lot going for it. It is pretty big. It is very established. It is connected with a network of schools internationally that allow for easy exchange programs in high school. It has very deep resources. On the other hand, it is a religious school, which is a major turn off for me personally... I'd come to peace with that however, because unliek the Jesus school we visited, they are very open minded about it. You have to learn a bit about Cathoilic beliefs, but you are not required to actually believe. They have students of all sorts of different belief stripes. The whole having to take classes about a random imaginary diety and his supposed acts was bothersome, but I'd come to terms with it once balanced with all the other good things at that school.

But while I was still thinking of two places and their pros and cons, the decision had clearly already been made by Amy anyway. She was VERY excited about Eastside Prep and had told Brandy very early on that of all the places we visited she had been most comfortable and felt most like she fit in there.

And I'd been very impressed by them too. In my mind I may have still had a tie, but it was definately still a tie and a hard choice (if a spot had opened up).

Lets see:

Eastside Prep is a very new school. They have not yet graduated their first Senior class. (The first graduating class will be the class of 2009. Amy will be the class of 2013.) It is brand new. The students and faculty who "founded" the school are for the most part still there. On the one hand, this made me nervous. What, no track record? But on the other hand with everybody we talked to there there was a palpable feeling of excitement, and not just excitement but PRIDE. Pride in what they had built over the last few years, and prinde in what they were indeed still building. These were not just people who were hired to teach and go home at night. These were people dedicated to buidling something. Building something new and something good. And that was something you could just feel walking around. That isn't to say that you couldn't tell in the other places we visited that people liked where they were and what they were doing and were proud of their schools... but this just had a qualitative difference. It was a sense of direct ownership. I liked that a lot. When Brandy and I walked out the door, leaving Amy to spend the day at classes, that was absolutely the first thing I said. "Did you see how excited and proud they are about what they are doing?"

It is also a small school. Between that and the newness that means they don't have all the things some of the bigger places have in terms of fully established clubs and activities and all that sort of thing. But at a student body for the whole school of less than 100 kids, and only about 15 per grade... it means there will be a LOT of individual attention, and there will be no "slipping through the cracks" or getting bored because the class is moving to slow, or whatever. This is exactly the kind of environment Amy needs to thrive.

While small, they are clearly growing and building. You can see the newness. You can see that there is new "stuff" coming all the time. The day we visited they announced that they had just acquired more buildings to make their current location a "perminant home".

There is not a required number of hours per quarter or whatnot that parents have to volunteer. However it was also clear that parental involvement is very welcome and families are VERY involved in the school and its growth. That is exciting as well.

They talk about how they are using new and innovative techniques. At first, that sounds scary. What kind of freaky new-age stuff will they be doing with my child?? But what it seems to be is things like being heavily project based and interdisciplinary. What you do in English class ties in to what you do in Science and History. And as well as the usual homework and classwork, the number of longer term projects, both individual and group based, are perhaps more frequent and more prominant than in some other programs. Also, each grade in each year has an overarching question that provides a theme for the year. Everything for that year is tuned to provide different avenues and insights into that question, approaching it from many different directions. There is a lot of "learning to think and explore" here as well as learning the specific topics you are supposed to learn in each grade (Although of course you also get that.)

Oh, and of course they use USB thumb drives to hold much of their coursework rather than lugging a backpack full of textbooks, which is cool. Lots of other uses of technology where it makes sense too. It is a Windows campus unfortunately. (What can you do being only a few miles from Microsoft headquarters?) But that is OK. You're allowed to use Macs, they just don't have the resources to offically support them. :-) And then in the high school years, you are required to use a Tablet PC. But that is years away.

They were also very engaged and personable with us. A couple of the other schools actually got Amy's name wrong at one point and got us confused with another family... etc. Some of them it definately felt like we were being stepped through an exact and defined procedure... ask them these questions... show them this stuff... tell them these things... then say goodbye. All friendly of course, but scripted. Eastside Prep was much less formal, much more engaged with our specific situation, and just generally felt more welcoming.

All in all we are very excited about Eastside Prep. And Amy is THRILLED. I think this will be a very good place for her. This is a very big decision. There is a lot of money involved. (Although Eastside Prep also is helping with some generous financial aid this first year when I am doing the whole pay for two houses thing for most of the year, which completely depletes resources... next year we shouldn't need the aid I hope.) And it is just plain a big life decision. If the school goes well and if (cross fingers) my current job goes well (or at least I stay in Seattle) then this is a place that is going to be a huge part of Amy's life for the next SEVEN YEARS. And her experiences there will very strongly affect the kind of adult she grows into and how her life will evolve through her teenage years, into college, and then into adulthood. It is a HUGE decision. If we make the wrong call, it will have consequences for many years to come. I think we are making the right decision, but it is still quite a big thing!

And we almost didn't get to visit Eastside Prep. Brandy had initially asked if we could visit them during Amy's spring break at the end of March. They had tentatively said yes. Then all the OTHER schools said they could not wait that long, and could we come earlier. We scrambled and set up an earlier time for Brandy and Amy to come to Seattle in early MArch rather than late March. All the appointments were set up with four of the other five schools. (The one that we didn't get an appointment for... we'd already done a phone interview... is the one we never visited or heard back from.) We sent a note to Eastside prep saying we were going to be there earlier than expected and could we possibly come for the day visit in early March instead.

We did the vist and saw the four schools. We had not heard back from Eastside prep. We got an email from them just a few hours before Brandy and Amy were due to fly back to Florida confirming a date and time for the LATE MARCH time frame we'd asked them about first. At that point it would have been too late for a day visit with them in the first trip anyway, and we'd been fairly booked. But a round trip for both Amy and Brandy is expensive. And as this was in the Spring Break timeframe, it was more so than usual. And to get flights that were still open and allowed enough time in case there were delays, Amy had to miss more school again. It would cost us almost $1000 to make a second trip back to Seattle for the two of them, and with the whole house plus apartment thing going on at the moment, things are very very tight. There was discussion of not making the second trip. We were not even sure if we COULD finance the trip even if we wanted to... In the end though, we figured out how to squeeze it in... barely. So Brandy and Amy came out again for Spring Break... not just for the day of the school visit, but also for a full week. Which was very nice.

But I am VERY glad that we were able to arrange that second trip. After visiting the school we walked out with it a tie with Forrest Ridge. And as mentioned, within days with Amy and Brandy that had evolved into a #1 spot although I was still on the fence a bit. After leaving Forest Ridge Amy was very excited about that school (alone of the four we visited, although some others were "OK".) Over the couple days after we visited Eastside Prep, her attention and interest had very much shifted to Eastside Prep. She really liked it there. If we had not had a chance to visit, we might not have gotten in, and if we did get in, although we might have eneded up with the same decision, our feelings about it would be a lot less clear. Visiting was crucial. I am so glad we did.

So... back to the beginning... I dropped off the deposit check yesterday. This acts as a downpayment of sorts. We start paying monthly when school actually starts next Fall. I handed the check to the same person who had interviewed Brandy and I during our day visit. They seemed very glad to have us. Brandy mailed the paperwork and contracts from Florida several days earlier. Our spot is reserved. We are going to Eastside Prep. And we are very excited.

Abulsme - Fri, 14 Apr 2006, 09:01:09 PDT
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Thu 13 Apr 2006

Police Chase

Was just in the parking lot talking on the phone with Brandy for a few minutes, when I saw a police car pull up on the street outside our parking lot, then two officers got out and quickly headed down the steep hill underneath the bridge that is right across from our building. Moments later a helicopter was also circling.

Went upstairs to find out what is going on. So far I just found a one sentence blurb:


Seattle Police are searching for a rape suspect in an area near 12th and Dearborn. The SWAT team and King County’s Guardian One helicopter have been called in.
12th is the bridge. Dearborn must be one of the streets underneath the bridge. I didn't see anything more than the officers running down the hill and then later a quick glimpse of them methodically walking through a grassy area down the hill.

And I probably won't see any more since I am now back upstairs in my office and have things to do. But still... a moment of excitement for the day.

Abulsme - Thu, 13 Apr 2006, 11:18:27 PDT
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Bye Bye Geena

Will She Be Impeached
(Drudge, Drudge Report)

While it is not clear if the country is ready for a woman to take the title of COMMANDER IN CHIEF, TV executives at ABC have all but decided to pull the plug on the breakthrough drama, top sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

"No one here will say publicly that it's over [for the show]," a well-placed insider said this week from Los Angeles. 'But it is over."
It was an OK show, but not spectacular. But with both West Wing and this going away, someone needs to start up a new prime time political drama right quick. There are certainly enough Doctor, Lawyer and Crime shows... just kill one of those and do another politics one. K?

Abulsme - Thu, 13 Apr 2006, 10:26:55 PDT
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Wed 12 Apr 2006

Congratulations Matt!

I won't post any of the pictures he sent or anything without permission, but congratulations to my friend Matt (and his family) for adding one to his family today. With new Lily (obligitory measurements: 7 lb 1 oz, 20"), they are now a family of four. Congrats Matt!

The previous daughter, Emma, was born during Day 9 of my random trip to Idaho. I wasn't doing anything quite so exciting this time around. At 06:24 UTC this morning when Lily was born, I think I was stitting at my desk paying bills.

I think Matt was having a much more interesting time.

Anyway, congratulations again!

Abulsme - Wed, 12 Apr 2006, 12:29:25 PDT
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Using Eggs Correctly

Cadbury Egg Cake


Replace ordinary eggs in cake recipe with Cadbury Creme Eggs and observe results.


(via Boing Boing)

Abulsme - Wed, 12 Apr 2006, 08:23:57 PDT
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Mon 10 Apr 2006

I Smell Steve Jobs

ABC to offer full versions of shows online
(Eric Bangeman, ArsTechnica)

Beginning April 30, a redesigned website will allow web surfers to watch full episodes of programs such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, and others starting the morning after they air on ABC. In addition, programming from other Disney-owned networks will be made available online over the next couple of months. The first will by Soapnet, which will begin programming on April 17, followed by the Disney Channel in June, and ABC Family at an unspecified point in the future.

All programs will be shown in their entirety, including commercials which cannot be avoided. That's a smart move on ABC's part, as it ensures that advertisers will get another shot at hawking their wares to an audience that might otherwise change channels during commercial breaks or fast-forward through them if recorded. Aside from being unable to avoid commercials, watching the programs will be similar to watching timeshifted content in that viewers will be able to pause, fast forward, and rewind.
(via SlashDot)

Abulsme - Mon, 10 Apr 2006, 15:33:58 PDT
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Sun 09 Apr 2006

AbulCam Streaming


The Abulcam has been upgraded so it now streams live video as quickly as the bandwidth can handle it. The thumbnail on the home page will also now self-update although it won't stream. If I have the camera off, the Abulcam will show a black screen, but the last uploaded thumbnail will still be available. Click on the image in this blog post, the "Camera" link in the top navigation of this site, or the Camera image at the top of the home page to get to the streaming video.


Abulsme - Sun, 9 Apr 2006, 03:04:59 PDT
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Sat 08 Apr 2006

Walking in a Minter Wonderland...


Brandy and Amy's plane flight back to Melbourne from Seattle was full of fun and frolic of the sorts that result in complaints being filed against the airline. But I shall not get into that. If Brandy want to, she can do so on her own blog.

But one good thing did come out of that trip back to Florida. Brandy and Amy called me from the airport in Atlanta to tell me that they were at the airport Ben and Jerry's eating the flavor above and that it was yummy.

I've never seen it or tasted it myself, but now I feel I must.

Abulsme - Sat, 8 Apr 2006, 21:57:20 PDT
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DVD: Doctor Who: The Three Doctors

imageThe last night Brandy and Amy were here we put this on to watch. Unfortuantely, they were both sleepy. Brandy was asleep before the end of the first episode. I had been trying to be really good and not freak out and pause it every time I noticed her eyes closing and had made it to the end of the episode. (To keep myself from being bad, I'd given Brandy the remote.)

But at the end of the first episdode, since Brandy was asleep, I started putting things away rather than starting the second episode and told Amy it was time for bed. She was unhappy, but went to bed.

A few minutes later I went in to check on her and she was still looking very unhappy. So I said we could watch the rest if she wanted to. She said "but you said we couldn't!". I told her it was OK, we could... that I would like that.

So we got set back up to start it up again, with Amy under a blanket with her head in my lap. We started up the DVD. Amy was much happier.

Of course, she was asleep within minutes.

I did watch the rest solo. And gave them back the disk rather than returning it to watch on the way home on the plane. It hasn't been returned yet, so I'm not sure that they did.

This episode was the first multi-doctor episode. And it was fun to see the Doctors bickering with each other as usual. I especially liked though the Brigadier's reaction to them. Not much else to say about it. It was good to see the second Doctor again. I just can't get myself liking the 3rd.

Anyway, it is now in the hands of Brandy and Amy to watch and return. Gieven that they have each had their current netflix movies for months... Brandy has had Cube 2: Hypercube since 17 Sep 2005, and Amy has had Little Black Book since 10 Feb 2006. So I'm not expecting to to get done and sent in any time soon. (Of course, my current movie was sent out 23 Feb 2006, so I can't say much.)

Of course, we've only been watching the Doctor Who ones together, so I guess it doesn't matter that much since it will be awhile until we are all in the same place again. The next one is another first Doctor one that was released since we got this one. The first first Doctor episode actually.

I am a little sad this is as far as we had gotten since we started this at the end of the 9th Doctor's episodes last year. I had really hoped to get up to episodes with Sarah Jane Smith before the episode where she comes back and meets the 10th Doctor comes on. That will be School Reunion which will be on in the UK in just a few weeks and will also feature the return of K-9.

It would have been nice for Amy to have seen some episodes with Sarah Jane and K9 before seeing them return, but I guess that's OK. Most of the kids who are now fans in the UK won't know who they are anyway. This is a sop for the older fans.

Of course, if we waited until this episode airs officially in the US, we'd have plenty of time for that.... but will we be able to wait that long???

Six days until new Doctor Who in the UK. I wouldn't take bets on us waiting until Sci-Fi gets around to it, IF they get around to it...

As for watching more of the old episodes... I'll let them govern that. I shant be bugging them about it. The main reason we started is it seemed Amy liked them, and I know Brandy had watched when they were on PBS, as had I of course... but there shall be no more prompting on the issue from me. We'll get to it when we get to it.

Abulsme - Sat, 8 Apr 2006, 19:40:55 PDT
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Thu 06 Apr 2006

Volcano Be Here


Abulsme - Thu, 6 Apr 2006, 22:16:33 PDT
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Probably Available Before Too Long = 24 hours

I'll be watching carefully for reports of how good this is (or not), but I'm sure even if it has kinks, it won't be too long before they are all worked out. Excellent. NOw I just have to find that XP disk so I can try this... :-)

Parallels Workstation 2.1 Delivers First Virtualization Solution for Intel-powered Apple Computers

Parallels announced today that it is beginning beta testing for Parallels Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X, the first virtualization software that gives Apple users the ability to simultaneously run Windows, Linux or any other operating system and their applications alongside Mac OS X on an Intel-powered Apple computer.

Virtualization software enables users to run multiple operating systems, like Linux or Windows, in isolated “virtual machines” directly on a Mac OS X desktop, giving users the ability to run programs that are only available on those operating systems, without having to give up the usability and functionality of their Mac OS X machine . Each virtual machine operates exactly like a stand-alone computer and contains its virtual hardware, including RAM, hard disk, processor, I/O ports, and CD/DVD-drives.


Parallels’ full support of Intel Virtualization Technology®, which is included in most new Core Duo chipset, ensures that virtual machine performance is close to near-native and that each virtual machine is stable and completely isolated from other virtual machines and the host physical machine.
(via Otherwise Occupied)

Abulsme - Thu, 6 Apr 2006, 10:40:32 PDT
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Wed 05 Apr 2006

Book: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

imageAuthor: J. R. R. Tolkien
Started: 7 Mar 2006
Finished: 25 Mar 2006
544p / 19d
29 p/d

I read Two Towers right as the Two towers movie was coming out. I had intended to finish it before the movie came out, but ended up finishing a little after. At least I think that is what happened. In any case, it was a long time ago. And my book pile has been so disrupted by the various moves, it doesn't much resemble what it was. At the time I left Pennsylvania, this was 6th on the list. But others snuck in before they should have because things were in boxes. In any case, I finally got to it. Not quite in time for the third movie.

Of couse this is not the first time I read this. This series is one I have read many many times since my dad read me The Hobbit. It had been a number of years though. And I worried a bit that the years since I had read the last book in the series most recently would detract. But no, it didn't. This series is still one of my favorites.

It did seem to go much faster than I remembered though. Every night I'd stop and think, wow, I got to that part already?

And as usual with the Return of the King in particular, the part that facinated me more than practically any other part was reading the extensive appendicies. The additional detail and background that gives is great. Especially the first few that give some more information on what happens to the characters after the end of the book, and then given an overview of the history of middle earth than is explored more fully in The Silmarillion. People who read this series but then skip the Appendicies are missing out!

The other thing I was acutely aware of as reading this time around was that both my copies of The Atlas of Middle-Earth were in Florida. I loved that thing too, and I kept wanting to refer to it, but didn't have it...

One final thing to mention. The edition pictured above is the one I actually read. A copy I've had since sometime in the mid 80's. The link above is to a current edition as this one is no longer in print. However, it also made me think about the copies that were the first ones I ever read. Including the copy of The Hobbit in the picture of me and my dad I linked above. Turns out while they were not from the very first print run, the versions my dad shared with me of The Hobbit, The Followship of the Ring, and the Two Towers were early enough that they had the same cover design as the first American paperback editions. And more impressive, the copy of the Return of the King was the ORIGINAL hardcover design from the UK. (Although it is missing it's dust cover, which I vaguely remember, but have not seen since I was a child, and maybe never saw, but I think I did...) As I said, not actual first printing, but first edition if that is the right termonology... before the first time they redid the cover artwork in any case. All four of those books are at this moment in boxes in Florida. If they were in good condition they would be worth a decent amount as collectible editions. Unfortunately, they were beloved books from when I was about age 10 to when I wanted to read them at a time I didn't have the old ones handy and bought a new copy sometime when I was a teenager. So I beat the hell out of them. All four are in pretty bad condition. The covers of the paperbacks are seperated and torn, the pages are yellowed and brittle, etc, etc. The hardcover is a bit better off, but still pretty beat up.

Anyway, whenever I find that box again, those four books are going to get put somewhere very carefully so they don't get any worse. Cause of the condition they are already in probably not worth anything, but still fond sentamental memories for me.

In any case, great books. Silmarillian is next. Wonder how many years until I get to it.

Abulsme - Wed, 5 Apr 2006, 23:40:46 PDT
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Boot Me Up

It had been achieved independantly a few weeks back, but it was a painful procedure and there were missing drivers and such. As of today, Apple offers a way directly from them to do it pretty painlessly.

Boot Camp Public Beta

Once you’ve completed Boot Camp, simply hold down the option key at startup to choose between Mac OS X and Windows. (That’s the “alt” key for you longtime Windows users.) After starting up, your Mac runs Windows completely natively. Simply restart to come back to Mac.
(via practically every website I've looked at today)

Of course, what would be really awesome would be full virtualization (a la Virtual PC) but at close to 100% full speed. That will be awesome. And is probably going to be available before too long.

But this right here is good enough so that if Amy has some Windows thing she has to run next year for school or whatnot, we won't need to make sure we have a seperate Windows machine for her.

Excellent. Not that I *want* to run Windows or anything, but having it as a quick and easy option when needed.... great. (Just have to dig up a XP SP2 disk somewhere... or buy one when the time comes.)

Abulsme - Wed, 5 Apr 2006, 11:31:06 PDT
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Mon 03 Apr 2006

150 Years

You need to put in a zipcode, a year, and a gender (not necessarily related to yourself of course) to view the article, which is annoying... but my Google News alert on my mom just popped...

Birthday Celebrated by Church
(D. L. Stephenson, The Republican)

Initially, Second Congregational rented space in what was then called Whitman Hall, located on the corner of Elm Street. In 1860, a church building was erected on Main Street, where worship services were held for more than 100 years.

Having grown too large for that structure, the church erected another building on Western Avenue in 1962, where it continues to serve about 230 active members, said the Rev. Ruth M. Brandon, the church's pastor.
Congrats to my mom and her church!

Abulsme - Mon, 3 Apr 2006, 22:11:41 PDT
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Too Many Stairs

I woke up this morning feeling not too great. First of all, something I ate yesterday obviously wasn't too happy with me. Second, I think the air mattress I sleep on has lost just a bit too much air without me repumping it, so I am all sore. My back hurts and my chest hurts. But both only on the right top side. Plus there is the whole thing about everybody deciding to start doing everything an hour earlier starting this week. So I need to start aiming at being at work at 16 UTC instead of 17 UTC. Which is a pain. (Of course, any of those are better than the 12 or 13 UTC which was common at the last job...)

I drag myself out of bed, on track for 17 UTC, not 16 UTC and manage to get to work. A bit late, but not so much anyone would really care. Things are pretty loose here as long as you get done what you are supposed to get done.

In any case, there is a 18 UTC weekly staff meeting (used to be 19 UTC damn it). I am at work in plenty of time for that. I get coffee. I get settled. Then a few minutes before hand I head up to the meeting on the 10th floor of this building. The rest of the folks weren't heading up quite yet, but I figured I'd get up there a couple minutes early.

There is another meeting in the room. I think nothing of it, I am early. But a few minutes go by and they do not leave, and the rest of my team doesn't show up. A couple more minutes and someone from the meeting that is going on asks if I have a meeting scheduled and tells me he has that room booked for the next hour. WTF?

I go back down to my office on the 5th floor to double check the meeting request. Yup. 10th floor. And everybody is gone. Not one person from my group left in their offices.

I go back up to the 10th and check other conference rooms. Then the 9th, then the 8th, then the 7th, then the 6th, then the conference rooms on the 5th floor. Still nothing. I run into one other person from my group who has also gotten lost. We call a couple cell phones. Voice mail. We email one person in the group with a blackberry. Nothing. So I start looking at more conference rooms. 4th. 3rd. 2nd. 1st. Then back up again. 2nd. 3rd. 4th. 5th. 6th. 7th. 8th. 9th. 10th. Still nothing.

I am about to give up when I realize the 10th floor is not the top floor. I decide to make one last effort and go to the 11th floor. And there they are. I emailed the other lost person from my phone to let him know I had found the meeting.

Then I joined the meeting, 20 minutes late, and pretty tired from not feeling great to begin with and now having gone up and down the stairs multiple times. (Not to mention the various additional elevator trips I also took but did not enumerate... the ups and downs above were just the ones I did by stairs... OK, I mentioned it...)

It was promised that next week the meeting reuqest would be updated to reflect the actual room the meeting would be in.

I hope so. I'm not in good enough shape to go running up and down ten stories of steps several times just to find a meeting!

I want a nap now.

Abulsme - Mon, 3 Apr 2006, 12:06:24 PDT
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Sun 02 Apr 2006

Broken (and Fixed) Reatta


Since Brandy never did, I figured I'd go ahead and post about her car. Well, one of them. You see, Brandy has a Nissan that she drives every day (and hates). But in the garage she keeps and only very rarely drives, a Buick Reatta, which she loves. There were less than 22 thousand of them ever made, and it is getting to be a decently old car. (And hers was one of the ones with the touchscreen computer, of which they made less than 12 thousand.) The resale price of these cars has bottomed out and is actually starting to go up again as they start becoming collectables. Brandy hopes to keep it until someday we are actually able to do a full restoration and make it a nice classic car. (Something I wish I could have done with my 1976 Dodge Colt, but alas, it is long gone...)

Since we moved to the Palm Bay house, the Reatta never left the garage. It needed a new battery, some repairs to one of the seats, and some other things. Last month it was time. Brandy took the Reatta to the local Buick dealer. They did the work they were supposed to do. Then they called her and said it was ready to pick up. She said she would pick it up the enxt day. The next morning, before she came in, she got another call from the Buick dealer. Overnight her car had been broken into in the dealer's parking lot. The lock was smashed and removed and then inside the car whoever it was had completely ripped apart the center console. Lovely.

The first call to the insurance company... Insurance company felt this was all the dealer's fault and they should pay everything... however, they said that if a claim was made, they would most likely just declare the car totaled due to the age and the fact that replacement parts are no longer made and are in many cases very hard to find (particularly for that center console). This was very upsetting. Losing the car was not desired. Brandy had carted this thing around for many many years and was very attached to it. At first the dealer said they absolutely would not be responsible. (Oh, and by the way, there were not even any security cameras pointing at the lot... what's up with that?) A few calls up the management chain though fixed that and they decided they would after all handle the repairs due to the break in. Well... as best they could... they couldn't replace anything for which no replacement parts were available.

So, next question... was there anything missing? The pattern of the break in matched someone scrounging for parts, not someone looking to steal the car itself, or grabbing valuables from inside the car. When they did the complete examination though, nothing was missing. The biggest difficulty was the center console though. It was pretty beat up and torn, but that is one of the parts that there are no replacments for absent scrounging through junkyards and such.

In the end though, they were able to patch it up relatively well, replace the lock, etc.

Brandy picked up the car on Friday. The immediate things needed for it to be drivaable are all done. A bunch more would still need to happen to do the whole full resoration thing, but that wasn't the goal quite yet. We just wanted it out of the garage and ready to drive and such. The Nissan will not be coming to the West Coast, only the Buick will be. The center console is a little worse from the experience, but not as bad as it initially looked and the lock and such has been replaced properly, and the intial things Brandy had taken the car in for in the first place are also all done.

And so yet another adventure on the way to the move...


Abulsme - Sun, 2 Apr 2006, 13:22:53 PDT
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