Archives: May 2009

Thu 28 May 2009

Cowburger and Fries

Abulsme - Thu, 28 May 2009, 21:28:43 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Reuniting with Nukes

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • High School Reunions
  • North Korea
  • Auto/Econ Update
  • More Phone Talk
  • Wilderness Republicans Again
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Note: For those using the "View in iTunes" link, it often takes iTunes quite a few hours to show a new episode after the episode is posted here. So if you are looking for the podcast very soon after I post this, use one of the other methods to find the new episode. For those who are subscribed, your Podcast software should pick up the new episode next time it checks for new episodes on its own, or you can always force a refresh. For those using the XML feed directly, the new episode is now there.

Abulsme - Thu, 28 May 2009, 15:49:02 PDT
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Tue 26 May 2009

Kindle Ratio for 26 May 2009 - 45%

As I've done after the last couple of books I've finished, I've gone and looked to find out how many of the last 20 books I've read are available on Kindle. Last time it was 7 out of 20. This time it is up to 9. The book I just read is available, but in addition some of the previous books I'd read that were not available before, now are. So we're up to 45%.

I've been saying since the Kindle 1 came out that I'll "officially want one" once this ratio was greater than 50%. We're getting close. But not quite there yet. :-)

Abulsme - Tue, 26 May 2009, 00:07:02 PDT
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Mon 25 May 2009

Book: Until the Sea Shall Free Them

Author: Robert Frump
Started: 24 Jan 2009
Finished: 9 May 2009
341 p / 106 d
3 p/d

So, I finally got around to reading this book... by someone I know, by a person I used to work for... Now, it took three copies of the book to get this far. I think my first was the hardcover, and I'm pretty sure I had it signed by Bob. But during one of my moves it got stuck in storage. Now, eventually I got to one of Bob's OTHER books in my reading pile, but then realized I hadn't read this one yet, so I ordered a copy of the paperback. Then I got about a quarter of the way through it, and accidentally put it into a backpack full of some markers and a bottle of water with a loose cap... result, book with blue pages. Now, it dried, and I kept reading it for awhile longer. Then, I lost it. I didn't know where it was. I waited a few weeks for it to turn up. When it didn't, I ordered a third copy. Of course, days after the third copy arrived, I found the second copy... but I finished reading using the third copy, since it wasn't blue.

Anyway, the book itself... I didn't know what to expect, not having read any of Bob's books before.

This is basically the story of a marine disaster, and the investigations which followed, eventually leading to some reforms in the American Merchant Marine fleet. The first part of the book is the tale of the sinking of the Marine Electric. Bob draws out the stories of not just the crew aboard the ship, but their families as well. As the story unfolds, he brings in stories of earlier incidents as well. At times these can be very poignant. After this, the book transitions into the drama of the investigations into what happened, basically indicting most of the American Merchant Marine industry, and the government agencies that regulated it for extremely lax safety practices.

Bob tells a compelling story and pulls you through the events. And teaches you a bit as you go. I certainly didn't know any of this history before I read the book. :-) If there were two things I would say on the flip side... one would be that by the fourth or fifth time there was a "but this was not the first time this had happened, there was also the case of the SS Magoo in 1953" I could almost hear Wayne and Garth doing the little sparkly back in time memory thing... and second would be that when I read "In a conversation with the former Philadelphia Enquirer reporter..." I am not fooled. I know that is you Bob. Might as well break out the first person at some point. :-)

Anyway, good interesting book on a topic I have not read about in the past. I look forward to... eventually... catching up on Bob's other books as well.

[2009 Dec 5 20:18 UTC - Fixed typo in start date]

Abulsme - Mon, 25 May 2009, 21:24:39 PDT
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Thu 21 May 2009

Curmudgeon's Corner: Pictures and Microwaves

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Microwaves
  • Broadband
  • Republican Future
  • Terror Prisoners
  • General McChrystal
  • Graphic Pictures
  • Looking Forward or Looking Back?
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Note: For those using the "View in iTunes" link, it often takes iTunes quite a few hours to show a new episode after the episode is posted here. So if you are looking for the podcast very soon after I post this, use one of the other methods to find the new episode. For those who are subscribed, your Podcast software should pick up the new episode next time it checks for new episodes on its own, or you can always force a refresh. For those using the XML feed directly, the new episode is now there.

Abulsme - Thu, 21 May 2009, 14:29:34 PDT
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Sun 17 May 2009

Because I Can: on Kindle

I don't expect even one single subscriber, but because it now takes about 3 minutes to set up, I went ahead and made this blog available on Kindle. Woo!

The page to order this for your Kindle is here.

Abulsme - Sun, 17 May 2009, 14:46:49 PDT
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Sat 16 May 2009

Glad We Left

Just got a Zillow update in my email. The above is the decline in the value of our house in Florida since we sold it. Ouch! I'd hate to be the guy who bought it from us! It dropped another 8% just in the last 30 days according to Zillow, and the the chart doesn't look like it has bottomed yet.

Abulsme - Sat, 16 May 2009, 08:52:45 PDT
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Fri 15 May 2009

DVD: Blue Planet: Seas of Life (Discovery Channel Version): Disk 2

So, once again it was time for a DVD we own but haven't watched, and it was time for the second disk in this set.

This disk had two episodes. The first was "Open Ocean". In this episode the most striking and memorable bits were the huge shoals of small fish, especially as they became "bait balls" and were attacked by various predators.

But the second episode, "The Deep", was the one that got my attention this time around. I'd of course seen various documentaries about deep ocean life before, but it is always just amazing to see shows like this that show the almost completely alien seeming forms of life, especially in the deep sea, but not at the bottom. Bioluminescent creatures that glow and sparkle and often look like some sort of aquatic space ship. Others with strange and bizarre shapes. Just overall weirdness. But absolutely fascinating... and beautiful.

Great stuff. So far I'm liking this series a lot. Disk three before too long I imagine. But something else will probably be next.

Abulsme - Fri, 15 May 2009, 19:40:13 PDT
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Cinema: Star Trek

So, of course, last week we went to see the new Star Trek on opening night. I've always remembered that I've seen ALL of the Star Trek movies on opening night, but the truth is I can't fully remember the earlier ones, although I have a vivid memory of going to Star Trek II with my dad, and hearing the people leaving the showing before us whispering about what happened to Spock.

In any case, we went opening night to an IMAX theater, although it was one of these new "IMAX Lite" kinds of places rather than the full since museum size.

In any case, I don't have a huge amount to add over the many thousands of reviews that have been published over the last week or two. As a reboot it was pretty great. Out of all 11 Star Trek movies, I'd say it is definitely in the top 3 or 4 or so. It was a lot of fun. It did fan service in all the appropriate places (plus some). It was fast paced with things happening the whole time. It was hokey and campy like the original series in places. And it did the reboot itself in a fairly clean way.

The weakest point though was actually the bits with Spock Prime. I mean, it was OK, and I know he is an old aged tired Spock, but he seemed to be dragging through it. Including just accepting as a given that the damage to the timeline was irreversible, and not seeming all that upset about it. In past time travel episodes, the people from the future have taken elaborate measures to restore the original time line. Of course, you can't do that and still have a reboot. But it did stand out to me that while Spock Prime did mourn some events in the new timeline, he didn't seem to mourn the destruction of the OLD timeline, and you would think he would.

And of course there are tons of plot holes, and places where you think "well, why don't they just X".

But hey, that is Star Trek for you.

All in all, it was fun, it was good, it was a worthy reboot, and I'm ready to watch Number 12 on opening night as well. :-)

Oh, and in a rare event for me, I've actually already seen it twice. A week after I saw it the first time, I saw it again with a bunch of people from work who were going. It was good the second time too.

Abulsme - Fri, 15 May 2009, 18:41:00 PDT
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Curmudgeon's Corner: Cheney's Phoning Pig Brains

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Diseases
  • Smartphones
  • Brain Drugs
  • Cheney
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Note: For those using the "View in iTunes" link, it often takes iTunes quite a few hours to show a new episode after the episode is posted here. So if you are looking for the podcast very soon after I post this, use one of the other methods to find the new episode. For those who are subscribed, your Podcast software should pick up the new episode next time it checks for new episodes on its own, or you can always force a refresh. For those using the XML feed directly, the new episode is now there.

Abulsme - Fri, 15 May 2009, 07:00:09 PDT
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Local Swine

Amy brought home a bright pink flyer from school Thursday saying that there is a diagnosed case of swine flu at her school. Joy. It seems it is one of the teachers.

Of course, despite reports of a 4th death in the last 24 hours, the US death rate has been hovering at about 1 in 1000 for most of the last week. Which if I read Wikipedia correctly is about the average for an regular old fashioned influenza epidemic.

But we still got the bright pink flyer reminding everybody that if their kid is sick they should KEEP THEM HOME. Which is of course what you are supposed to do ANYWAY. It isn't swine flu specific. They did however add that if you DO send your kid to school, and they appear to be sick, they will call you to come get them ASAP.

Abulsme - Fri, 15 May 2009, 01:21:33 PDT
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Shoe Car for Brandy?

If Brandy's car is totaled, perhaps we should get her this one?

Abulsme - Fri, 15 May 2009, 00:24:39 PDT
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Thu 14 May 2009

Ripped Nissan

A week ago Tuesday while Brandy and Amy were somewhere and the Nissan was parked nicely in the parking lot a teenage boy in his pickup truck with a damaged bumper tried to park next to it, and in the process wedged their damaged bumper in the Nissan's wheel well.

The kid did come into the place Brandy was and ask who owned the Nissan, which is good. Going back out, it became clear that the two cars were jammed together but nice. In the end they had to jack up Brandy's car before the truck could pull away. But when all was said and done, there was the nice rip in the car that you see above.

At some point, the boy's mom showed up. According to Brandy, one of the first things out of her mouth to her son was "You have GOT to stop hitting things!" Soon after was "I told you to get that bumper fixed!"

Insurance information was exchanged.

Brandy got one estimate last week, and a second estimate this week.

Problem. It is an old car with more than 200K miles on it. This is body work. Body work that requires replacing a large panel. The lower of the two estimates is close to the book value of the car. The other estimate is a decent bit more than the value of the car.

The conversation with the insurance company will be tomorrow most likely. There is a good chance they will just call the car totaled.

The car runs absolutely perfectly. But the stupid body damage is more than the value.

This sucks.

Abulsme - Thu, 14 May 2009, 23:52:36 PDT
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Tue 12 May 2009

Plouffe Piece

Just finished listening to David Plouffe speak. Interesting, but nothing new I hadn't heard talked about before, including things he has said before, but also others analyzing the campaign. Kind of like watching C-Span, but in person. Good overview of an inside look at the Obama campaign though.

Edit 20:41 UTC - This of course coming from someone who likes watching C-Span. :-)

Abulsme - Tue, 12 May 2009, 13:17:06 PDT
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Mon 11 May 2009

Stan the Man

I have never met the General. I have however met two of his brothers.

Of the two brothers I met, one seemed to have integrity... although he once told me a story that disturbed me involving him shooting a neighbor's dog and seemingly enjoying it. The other brother, in the end, seemed to have few redeeming features and no moral compass I could recognize other than doing whatever it took to get ahead. I guess over time we'll see how General McChrystal, who to me is the "third brother", fares. Now, I know that it is not proper to judge someone by their family, but overall I can tell you that if the General is anything at all like his siblings, the thought of him in charge of anything strikes fear into my heart. The bits below from and old Esquire story don't inspire any additional confidence.

Acts of Conscience
(John H. Richardson, Esquire, 1 Jul 2006)

"Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. 'Will [the Red Cross] ever be allowed in here?' And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross could get in: "they won't have access and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators."


They could keep a prisoner on his feet for twenty hours, and although the rules required them to allow each prisoner four hours of sleep every twenty-four hours, nowhere did it say those four hours had to be consecutive--so sometimes they'd wake the prisoners up every half hour. Eventually they'd just collapse. "This was a very demanding method for the interrogators as well, because it required a lot of staff to monitor the prisoner, and we'd have to stay awake, too," Jeff says. "And it's just impossible to interrogate someone when he's in that state, collapsed on the ground. It doesn't make any sense."

Within the unit, the interrogators got the feeling they were reporting to the highest levels. The colonel would tell an interrogator that his report "is on Rumsfeld's desk this morning" or that it was "read by SecDef." "That's a big morale booster after a fourteen-hour day," Jeff says with a tinge of irony. "Hey, we got to the White House."


"Was the colonel ever actually there to observe this?" "Oh, yeah. He worked there. He had his desk there. They were working in a big room where the analysts, the report writers, the sergeant major, the colonel, some technical guys--they're all in that room."


To Garlasco, this is significant. This means that a full-bird colonel and all his support staff knew exactly what was going on at Camp Nama. "Do you know where the colonel was getting his orders from?" he asks. Jeff answers quickly, perhaps a little defiantly. "I believe it was a two-star general. I believe his name was General McChrystal. I saw him there a couple of times." Back when he was an intelligence analyst, Garlasco had briefed Stanley McChrystal once. He remembers him as a tall Irishman with a gentle manner. He was head of the Joint Special Operations Command, the logical person to oversee Task Force 121, and vice-director for operations for the Joint Chiefs.
(via Andrew Sullivan)

I have mentioned General McChrystal before on this blog here and here.

Abulsme - Mon, 11 May 2009, 17:17:13 PDT
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Fri 08 May 2009

DVD: Blue Planet: Seas of Life (Discovery Channel Version): Disk 1

So, I think it was last weekend, but I do get confused, it was time for another DVD we own but have not watched yet. In this case it was Blue Planet which Brandy had given me for Christmas. Now, one thing that is interesting here is that there appear to be multiple versions of this out there. Brandy gave me the Discovery Channel version. There is also a BBC version. They seem to be basically the same thing, but with the episodes in a different order, and on some disks a different narrator. I think extras are different too. Wikipedia has more info.

Anyway, both Brandy and Amy had other things to do that night, so I watched the first disk on my own. On the version I have, the first two episodes were "Frozen Seas" and "Coral Seas". As usual for this kind of documentary, both episodes were full of absolutely stunning photography and amazing views of the wildlife. I watched on the big projector screen, so it was all very immersive.

Two particular scenes really stood out for me though.

First, penguins swimming... rocketing... underwater at high speed, leaving cavitation trails behind them, and then shooting up out of the water onto the ice.

Second, coral... usually perceived as static and unmoving background to the other wildlife, plantlike at best, and more often rock like, shown in time lapse exhibiting its animal nature, moving and surging and reacting... and even fighting!

I do like this kind of documentary, and I liked these two episodes. More to come later down the road, as this is a five disk set.

Abulsme - Fri, 8 May 2009, 21:00:20 PDT
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Thu 07 May 2009

Curmudgeon's Corner: Dribbles of News

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Missing Mail
  • Swine Flu
  • Stressed Ivan
  • Arlen Specter
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Note: For those using the "View in iTunes" link, it often takes iTunes quite a few hours to show a new episode after the episode is posted here. So if you are looking for the podcast very soon after I post this, use one of the other methods to find the new episode. For those who are subscribed, your Podcast software should pick up the new episode next time it checks for new episodes on its own, or you can always force a refresh. For those using the XML feed directly, the new episode is now there.

Abulsme - Thu, 7 May 2009, 00:24:55 PDT
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Wed 06 May 2009

Last Swine Flu Dashboard Enhancements

Well, last for tonight anyway, it is way past my bedtime.

I switched things around so the main page of the Swine Flu Dashboard is a "Summary View" with only the "all data so far" graphs of the six things being tracked (deaths, cases and death rate worldwide and US only). For these I changed the trend line to be based off of a one week time period. There isn't yet a full week of data, so that means the entire trend line may still shift. Parts of it will turn red once those parts are "fixed".

I have then moved off onto a separate "time frame view" looks at each of those six numbers on a "previous week", "previous month" and "previous year" basis. Obviously these will be more interesting once there is data over a longer time period. For this view I've made the trend lines dependent on which time frame you are looking at. They are based on 2 days for the weekly view, 2 weeks for the monthly view and 2 months for the yearly view.

Anyway... that's it for tonight.

Abulsme - Wed, 6 May 2009, 02:05:22 PDT
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Swine Flu Dashboard Adjustment

After watching the updates over the past day, it became clear that the CDC was only updating once per day, while Wikipedia was updating constantly as new information came in. When there was a CDC update, that data would get reflected in Wikipedia very quickly. So overall for responsiveness, Wikipedia was a better source. So I changed the data source for the US numbers on the Swine Flu Dashboard to be Wikipedia, just as with my world numbers. (Links to the specific Wikipedia data sources on the Swine Flu Dashboard itself.)

Also, using the magic of wiki history, I went back and backfilled my data to include at least one data point per six hour interval going back to April 30th (UTC). Before that in the wiki history it seems like the standard for what was a "confirmed" case was not yet clear, and so numbers had been reported differently and were higher.

Anyway, now the four times a day update for the US numbers will actually catch changes more than once a day, and the historical numbers are just as nicely filled out as the new numbers.

Oh, and the curves are actually starting to look a bit exponential now, whereas they had previously been looking more linear.


Abulsme - Wed, 6 May 2009, 00:23:44 PDT
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Mon 04 May 2009

Feeling Blue

About an hour ago we got out of the latest ultrasound... It's a boy!

And everything else looked normal and as expected for this stage as well.

So all is well! September here we come...

Abulsme - Mon, 4 May 2009, 17:09:20 PDT
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Swine Flu Acceleration

I find myself bored waiting for the new daily data points on the Swine Flu Dashboard so I have accelerated data collection from once per day to four times per day (random times within each 6 hour interval) starting in a few hours at 0 UTC.

Abulsme - Mon, 4 May 2009, 13:47:01 PDT
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Sun 03 May 2009

Addition to Swine Flu Dashboard

I added death rates (deaths/cases) to the suite of charts on the Swine Flu Dashboard.

Still updated once a day at random times, but to make the ratio correct, I now grab the deaths and cases data at the same time of day in each geographic grouping, although worldwide and US will generally be updated at different times.

Abulsme - Sun, 3 May 2009, 22:22:33 PDT
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Swine Flu Dashboard

Despite my strong suspicion that this whole thing is over hyped, noticing that most (if not all) places I've seen are just giving totals, rather than trends over time, I've gone ahead and set up a Swine Flu Dashboard giving charts over time on confirmed cases and deaths on a worldwide and US only basis. The data is taken from Wikipedia for the worldwide numbers (as the way the WHO website presented the data was more difficult to grab) and from the CDC for the US numbers. I got data from the last few days manually, but the charts are now set to update automatically on a daily basis.

I'll leave this going until either it becomes a pain for some reason, or the hype bubble pops and nobody cares any more.

Note: Yeah, yeah, H1N1. Whatever. Swine Flu.

Abulsme - Sun, 3 May 2009, 14:42:19 PDT
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Sat 02 May 2009


Just got the CNN Breaking News alert on my phone. Jack Kemp is dead. I remember thinking that he (along with Dole) back in 1996 were decent well meaning folks even if I disagreed with them on a lot.

Abulsme - Sat, 2 May 2009, 19:55:56 PDT
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Mail Good

Oh yeah... appeared to have recovered completely no problem. And in significantly less time that it first estimated. So all is good. Woo.

Abulsme - Sat, 2 May 2009, 19:24:32 PDT
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Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 12

A boy at 14 is a mystery. He is not old enough to have judgement of any value; at least his superiors in age look at it in that way as very liable to err in that respect.

In the saw-mill yard at Quaker Village stood a large butternut tree, and in the fall there was a great many nuts on it. This kind of nuts hang on the tree generally until frost comes. This year the frost was late, I had been looking to get our share one half. I noticed young men would come there, and knock them off and crack and eat them until satisfied. I told father how they were being used up in that way; father said, at last. "We will have tomorrow to see if we cannot have some." The next morning I went up there early, and how it was possible for anyone even if it was a moonlight night? Had gathered every one, scarcely one left!

I went into the house and told father about it. He made no remark at all. As I look at it now, what was the use? It might have been ten days afterwards a young girl was sent to our house with a two quart measure full of butternut meats, very nicely taken from the nuts. Mother made a cake with them in it; also pies that were extremely rich, but as I remember proved to be of healthy living.

Somewhat later father started out with his span of horses lumber box wagon with two double chairs for seats. They were like the kitchen chairs of those days, bottoms of oak prepared and wove very substantial. Two grown people or three children could sit in one of them. Father drove down about three miles where on the bank of the Otter creek there were butternut and walnut trees and we spent the whole day in gathering those nuts; we had for company on this trip my Uncle Robbins and aunt also their daughter Loeazer. It was a fine day. Such perfect happiness comes only a few times in one life. That is: According to Herbert Spencer, who says, "No one can be perfectly happy, until all are happy. At the time such experience comes to the young we neglect to appreciate them, we are anticipating something beyond that will outweigh the present, sometimes we get there, and find more or less reality, but sometimes we find disappointment."

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Abulsme - Sat, 2 May 2009, 16:08:47 PDT
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Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 11

This year came to me as learning to work, to find an honorable way to get a living, or even a few shillings possible for a boy to possess. There was not much opening. I drove a cow to and from pasture quite faithful for one man a neighbor, and was to have the current ninepence "Spannish Coin" for the job, really it was twelve and a half cents counted out in the coin of the realm.

I probably bought in imagination more toys and useful to me things than one could store in a good sized room. When the cash was earned I just went for it but never once cent could I get; finally I was so persistent that the neighbor told me; if I ever asked for it again he would slap me! I then gave up, and if I could found the Emperor of China. I could in great humbleness told my tale. I watched him after years, for I was sure he would take things that did not belong to him if the opportunity [full line of text missing] he broke in and took what he please and never made any report of his pilfering.

I never but once lifted any thing that did not belong to me. That time I was going to school about seven years of age, and I wished a piece of white chalk to mark with. At my father's sawmill there was a mill wright at work in the yard. He had laid a small piece down not larger than a small walnut or chesnut. I carefully edged to it and pocketed it, and went on to school. But of all the fears, that afternoon were the worst I ever knew. I could not mark with it for others would see it and the constant expectation to be called for was terrible. But after school closed I made my way back to the same identical square stick of timber to replace that ill gotten trouble.

I recollect in September my father in regard to my industry said I could go with him a 17 mile ride to Goshen, this was a great treat, never been so far from home and the weather was beautiful. We passed the Leicester Pond. Father related what happened at one end. There was an iron ore mine found, what is called "Bog ore". The miners had been digging it for a number of years. One day they went to dinner and on their return the mine was full of water, and no one drowned. This Leicester pond or lake had burst in and the iron ore was irrecoverably lost. The twenty five wheel barrows and all other tools lay there, and no one can ever recover them.

My father was a preacher of the Christian Denomination and this was his appointment in Goshen. We stayed at a member of the church by the name of Justus Dart. Some way that evening I burned my hand, Mrs. Dart took me quietly and exorcised the fire out of it, by saying over a form, that must not be repeated in a loud voice, and the previous form is only learned by a man repeating to a woman one at a time and the believer a woman, may repeat to a man. I was told this mystery, and the burn was easier, whether the success was owing to the flour paste it was covered with or the exorcise; I have never been able to determine. I have given this away to the opposite sex sometimes with great caution, only such as I supposed could reverence the form.

At service the next day there was a full house and awakening interest influence was felt; at the close of the preaching the house seemed to be in tears, and when the invitation was given out for to rise, if they wished a change of heart. I made a move, as if I was forced to do it, appeared to me. Now was the time. I had been a Sunday School scholar a number of years and this training probably has ben the reason of starting out in the new life. Age thirteen and three months. I immediately commenced to do right in my estimation. It seemed no trouble to getting to the right path, but it was a watchful effort to keep there. I came back with father the Monday following pondering a portion of the journey on what Mrs. Dart told me the last thing. "That I was made for a preacher!" I wanted to ask father about that prophecy - but concluded to wait until I could understand the duties of such a calling.

When we came home Grandmother Hurlburt was informed that I had a change of heart. She was quite positive it was a wrong thing in one so young. This grandmother was in every evening. One of my chores were to milk two cows; a job I had always protested more or less. But after this experience the disagreeable tax seemed to have disappeared, and one evening as I came in with the milk, grandmother made the remark. "I think Hiram is converted for he makes no fuss about milking." Then I discovered myself the irksomeness of the job had disappeared; even now when writing at the age of seventy four this has a strong argumentative force to convince me of God's word and the forgiveness of sin.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Abulsme - Sat, 2 May 2009, 15:48:40 PDT
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Fri 01 May 2009

DVD: In the Shadow of the Moon

It was a couple of weekends ago now, but it was time for a DVD we own but had never watched. The choice this time was In the Shadow of the Moon a DVD Brandy had given me for Christmas. It is a documentary on the various space flights to the moon, now almost 40 years ago. No narrator, just clips from interviews with the astronauts. I'd known most of the "factoids" mentioned, but this was still very well done and offered a look at things from a bit different direction than I'd seen before, with the emphasis on the first person recollection of the events.

The most lasting impression for me though wasn't that, it was some of the film based (rather than video based) footage of some of the later moon landings. THe bit that gets replayed over and over and is ingrained in everybody's consciousness is the fuzzy footage of the first landing. That's what always had come to my mind anyway. But some of the footage from the later missions... crystal clear clarity. Looked like it could have been a brand new high def TV show. OK, not quite, I know it was DVD quality, but still, a lot better than any of my previous memories of watching footage of stuff from this era.

And it was beautiful. The space ships. The people in suits... and the landscape of the moon. Not just a little bit of land right under the lander, but mountains and valleys and hills, with the moon buggy driving around and kicking up dust. It was striking.

For those not into documentary type stuff, you probably won't like this. But if you like historical or scientific documentaries, this is a good one to add to your queue.

Abulsme - Fri, 1 May 2009, 20:39:13 PDT
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Computers Don't Like Losing Power

It seems sometime a few hours ago power went out at my house, just for a few seconds. But it was enough. It seems when my computer came back up, my mail index or something was all screwed up. Apple's lovely little mail program is now working on reimporting my last 12+ years of email. 23K messages done so far out of 2.2M emails in my archive. Wow. 2.2 Million emails? Now, of course, quite a lot of those are spam. And a lot are duplicates accidentally created at various points over the years. But whatever.

At the moment it is saying 22 more hours to complete reimporting my mail.

I hope it succeeds in a happy way that leaves everything the way I would expect.

If not, it will be time for my first really important test of Time Machine.

I am somewhat impatient and tempted to just try that restore rather than waiting 22 hours, but I figure I'll let do what it wants first.

Abulsme - Fri, 1 May 2009, 18:43:43 PDT
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But Mom, All the Cool Kids Have Swine Flu!

Of course they all have swine flu. Of course they do.

Kids Who Cried "Pig"? Suspected Flu Cases Increase
(Kim P., Seattlest, 1 May 2009)

Kids must be smarter than we give them credit--those little stinkers might be pulling a "Oh, I'm sick, I have swine flu and can't go to school" after hearing Madrona K-8 closed for an entire week. Currently, seven of King County's ten suspected cases of Swine flu H1N1 flu have infected children and teens. More local schools where a "suspected case" has attended classes are now closed as a precaution.
Yum Huh.

Abulsme - Fri, 1 May 2009, 16:52:45 PDT
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Thu 30 Apr 2009


Abulsme - Thu, 30 Apr 2009, 23:17:43 PDT
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