Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“But that’s totally feather-pluckn insane…”*

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"But that's totally feather-pluckn insane..."*

Excerpted from a conversation with Sara!:

Rob: Is [coworker] around?

Sara: Yes. She is.

Rob: Ask her: WHAT. IS. THIS?!! http://boingboing.net/2015/05/20/how-to-fluff-chicken-butts-fl.html
Because I don’t have anything resembling words for it.
(NOTE: Sara’s coworker has a sister who raises chickens.)

Sara: Umm…. this is why we will never get chickens.

* – Apologies to The Presidents of the United States of America

 

Mittwoch

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Mittwoch

Wednesday – 20 May 2015
I didn’t get up this morning to go to the gym. No, that’s not entirely correct. Let’s try that again: I woke up this morning, in time to go to the gym, but decided not to do so, thanks to a not-happy stomach and a headache. I regret nothing.

At work, I called into a meeting, had a couple of impromptu business-related talks with people and apparently spaced off another meeting altogether. Go, me! The later meeting was for a software upgrade – one that I didn’t have to do – and got pushed back a bit until I got to the office. It was further delayed by some VM issues, along with a side helping of someone needing a cluster of servers rebooted. The shutdowns were easy; the reboots were not, mostly because the servers were on a VMware host whose existence I was only tangentially aware of.

::: braincramp :::
“Drat these computers…”

But, I managed to get things resolved.

For lunch, Adam, Brad, Kelsey (!), and I went to Lucky 13. There was a pretty major wait for food, but it was worth it. I went with the Hot Pastrami and Swiss Burger; I was not let down.

Now, I’m tackling an issue that popped up this morning… as a side-effect of the software upgrade. We’ll see if that takes me until the end of the day to rectify.

Stray Toasters

  • David Letterman steps down from the late night stage tonight. I’ve been a fan of his since… 1985, I think. Possibly ’84. Either way, it’s the end of an era. I wish him well on the next leg of his journey.
  • I quite liked this series of strips from Sinfest:

    sinfest2015-05-13
    sinfest2015-05-14
    sinfest2015-05-15
    sinfest2015-05-16
  • Princes of the Apocalypse is D&D’s Killer App

.eof

A day like… well.. a lot of other days, really.

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A day like... well.. a lot of other days, really.

Tuesday – 19 May 2015
This morning, I managed to get out of bed once again and make it to the gym before work. This is a “good” thing, as Guys’ Night Out was moved to tonight and trying to go to the gym after that would most definitely come under the heading of “bad idea.”

Work has been decent. There’s been nothing to complain about today. I like days like that.

Exactly.

Shortly, I’ll head home to (help) figure out what to feed Team DiVa for dinner and then prepare to bugger off for the aforementioned Guys’ Night Out. On the way home, I might even stop at the comic shop. Because nothing says “adult” like going to the comic shop when you want to.

Workout
While I did get to the gym this morning, I was still a little slow about getting there. Nevertheless, I was there and I did my workout. #neverskipalegday

  • Elliptical: 10 min/1.1 miles
  • Smith squats: 3 x 8 x 115 (I think, I need to check the weight of the bar)
  • Leg press: 3 x 8 x 80
  • Leg extensions: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
  • Leg curls: 3 x 8 x 60
  • Standing calf raises: 3 x 8 x 80
  • Standing calf raises: 3 x 8 x 60

I could tell that it was a leg day when I got to work and my quads complained – just a little – all the way up the stairs. To be honest, I should: A) get to the gym earlier, and B) some lunges to my routine… despite the fact that lunges are of the Devil (…and the Devil is bad.)

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Monday, Monday…

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Monday, Monday...

Monday – 18 May 2015
Happy Miracle Monday (1, 2).

superman_shield

Today finds me back in the office. I enjoyed last week’s class, but it was a LOT of information crammed into five days. I appreciated the time away from “work,” but there’s something to be said for being back in the swing of things.

Of course, I would have preferred to have gotten back to it this morning, rather than last night…

I got a call, just as Team DiVa was going to bed, that a server was down. By the time I was able to log in and start looking, I got another call, from a different user, saying that another server was down.

::: braincramp :::

Once I started looking, I noted that it wasn’t so much a “server” issue as it was a “virtual host” issue. And it was one that didn’t want to let me fix it remotely. So, into work I went. At 9:30 at night.

*grblsnrkx*

After banging on things for a while, I resorted to the time-honored IT tradition of: “Turn it off and then turn it back on.” That worked, for the most part. There was still one issue that didn’t resolve. I tinkered with a few settings and got that issue fixed… at least for the time being. There’s a long-term solution in the works, it’s just a matter of timing.

Workout
This morning, I also woke up a little before 6:30, chock full of the good intention of going to the gym. I actually got up and out of bed and – albeit a little more slowly than I should have – got ready to go. I had to abbreviate this morning’s routine due to time constraints, but the bottom line is: I got in a workout.

  • Elliptical: 7 min, 0.75 mile
  • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Short Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs

Stray Toasters

  • Saturday night, Sara! and I watched Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. It’s been a while since I’d seen it. I celebrated the occasion by live-tweeting it… which entertained me nearly as much as the movie itself. I think we’re going to watch Return of the Jedi tonight. I may live-tweet that, too. Because… I can.
  • Kronkiwongi
  • Who were the Forty Elephants?
  • I hope to be as understanding and willing/able to let the girls explore their choices as this mom was: Mom’s dilemma: Should I let my 6-year-old daughter shave her head?
  • As I mentioned above, today is “Miracle Monday.” The story was written by Eliot S. Maggin, who also wrote Luthor’s Gift, a short story I just discovered today. Enjoy.

Okay, back to the grind.

Namaste.

“Moving ahead so life won’t pass my by…”

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"Moving ahead so life won't pass my by..."

Friday – 15 May 2015
I should get around to writing this before it is no longer Friday.

Things have been good during my extended radio silence. What’s kept me from posting? Basically: Laziness. I’ll freely cop to that. That said, I had planned to write something this afternoon, but wound up getting wrapped up in a project and the next thing I knew,  it was time to get Team DiVa from daycare. Oh, well, better late than never. On the other hand, I got to have dinner with these two cuties, so it was worth it.

Dinner with Team DiVa

One of the good things of the past two-ish weeks has been that Sara and I have rejoined a gym. More specifically we joined Vasa Fitness, a rebranded gym that we used to go to before Team DiVa was born. We’ve been trying to figure out schedules that would allow us to both work out 2-3 times a week.

Another good thing from this week, was in a training class for work (at home!) which had an east coast-based schedule. That meant that I was up each morning for a 7:00 AM class. That also meant that my “lunch” time was around 10:30 each day. I used that time to go to the gym, instead. I actually like the idea of getting up a bit early and starting my day with a workout. My plan is to keep getting up around 6:30 and putting in forty-five minutes to an hour at the gym before getting on to the so-called “friction of the day.”

Sidenote (since I just made a Rush reference): I’ve been tracking my visits to the gym on Swarm/Foursquare with the tags #carveawaythestone. Why? Because it’s less typing than #OhDearLordHowAndWhyDidILetMyselfGetSoOutOfShape and a bit less embarrassing than #WhyDoesThisHurtSoMuch.

And, being back in the gym means that I need to start tracking my workouts again. So, let’s get the past couple weeks out of the way:

  • Thursday- 23 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 15 minutes, 1.3 miles
    • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets / 10 reps
    • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 90 lbs
    • Inclined Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 sets/8 reps – 2 sets, 70 lbs; 1 set, 90 lbs
  • Monday – 27 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Raises (Roman Chair): 3 sets/10 reps
    • Rotary Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets/10 reps, 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 50 lbs
    • Seated Tricep Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 45 lbs
  • Wednesday – 29 April 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, ~1 mile
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curl: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Reverse Punches: 3 x 10 x 10 lbs
    • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 X 30 lbs (forward)
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 30 lbs (reverse)
  • Tuesday – 05 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 minutes, 1 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 95 lbs
    • Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Fly: 3 x 8 x 60
    • Vertical Press: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Barbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Plank: 3 x 30 seconds
  • Saturday – 09 May 2015
    • Fitness Assessment
      • Walking High Kicks: 2 x 10 steps
      • Walking Quad Stretches: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Walking Butt Kicks: 2 x 10 steps (each leg)
      • Kettlebell Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 x 10 x 15 lbs
      • Kettlebell Squats: 3 x 10 x 25 lbs
      • Lunges: 3 x 10 steps x 15 lbs (each hand)
      • Hollow-Body Hold: 3 x 30 seconds
      • Russian Twists: 3 x 10 x 20 lbs
  • Tuesday – 12 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Smith Squats: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 10 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wednesday – 13 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 10 min, 1 mile
    • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Short Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • T-Bar Pulls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
    • Row: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Standing Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Thursday – 14 May 2015
    • Treadmill: 10 minutes, ~0.7 mile (betw. 0 and 2% incline)
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
    • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
    • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 50 lbs
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10 x 60
    • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 40
    • Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 25
  • Friday – 15 May 2015
    • Elliptical: 7 minutes, 0.75 mile
    • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 1 @ 20 lbs/2 @ 25 lbs
    • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 20 lbs
    • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 2 @ 20 lbs/1 @ 25 lbs
    • Wrist Curls: 3 x 15 x 2 @ 30 lbs/1 @ 40 lbs

And that was that. It’s going to take a while to get back to where I was when I stopped going to the gym, but I’m enjoying the journey so far.

Stray Toasters

  • Since cutting the cord, nearly two months ago now, I haven’t missed cable.
  • I’ve been quite pleased with and a occasionally surprised by my Comics-On-TV shows of late: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, and iZombie.
  • By way of Mike B.: Space X gets certified to launch NASA science missions
  • I’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron twice now. I’ll see if I can’t type up a two-part review in the next day or two.
  • Team DiVa asked me to play Candy Land with them last weekend. It was, not surprisingly, the first time I’d played the game in many, many years. And, it was fun, too.
  • Check out this Flash Gordon animated short, by Rob Pratt
  • Confederates in the Jungle
  • I don’t recall how I stumbled across this item, On Being a Cripple, by Nancy Mairs, but it is a fantastic and fascinating read. It is long and, for some, might not be necessarily “easy” to read, but I think that it’s very much worth the time to read.

And, it’s well into Saturday morning, now. I guess I’ll just schedule this to post sometime after the sun is up.

Namaste.

Free Comic Book Day 2015

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Free Comic Book Day 2015

Saturday – 02 May 2015
Today is Free Comic Book Day, a day awaited by the comic faithful all year long. Long story, short version:

Celebrate and discover the amazing world of comic books on Free Comic Book Day! Taking place annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops!1

Sara, Team DiVa and I got up, had breakfast, and headed to Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection to partake in the bounty!

We stood in line for a bit… before friends brought us up to their spot in line… and then went inside to get comics for the girls and me and a couple of action figures (1, 2) for Team DiVa. We also managed to find a few other heroes to take pictures with.

The New Birds of Prey: Hawkgirls and Black Canary

The New Birds of Prey: Hawkgirls and Black Canary

Click here to see other pictures from the event.

All too soon, it was over… until next year!

And, of course, thanks to Dr. Volt’s for hosting this event.

1 – Source: Free Comic Book Day website.

Cut… and….. print!

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Cut... and..... print!

Wednesday – 22 April 2015
Today is Earth Day.

It is also No Bad News Thursday Eve.

But, possibly the most important news of the day is that my coworker, Brad, and I have come up with what could possibly be the best movie concept in the history of concepts that became movies.

We were deciding where to have lunch, when we settled on Five Guys. Then we started mutilating the name in Spanish: Cinco Hombres…

…which then became Cinco Muertes, “Five Deaths,”to our amusement.

At that point, Brad suggested that the Wu Tang Clan should portray the Five Deaths. This was, in my opinion, a great idea. But, I took it one step further:

 Cinco Muertes Silenciosas: The Five Silent Deaths.

In the tradition of only the best kung-fu movies, The Five Silent Deaths set out to avenge the untimely death of their master from a rival clan… each of them taking a vow of silence until their rivals had been destroyed. Brad questioned how well this would work, as it seemed to be counterintuitive to have Wu Tang Clan unable to rap. This was a good point. I posited that they would only communicate by beat-boxing. (There could even be a cameo from Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. Or even The Fat Boys.)

We let it go for a while and continued our drive to Five Guys.

Over lunch, we were talking about Nic Cage, King of the B Movies. It wasn’t long until our conversation turned towards The Rock – the best Michael Bay movie not to star Will Smith and not The Actor Also Known as Dwayne Johnson. For some reason, I then came to the conclusion that Nic Cage needed to star in a movie with Christopher Lloyd… and just let the crazy happen. Brad thought about this for a few moments and then noted that Crispin Glover should be added to the cast, along with Christopher Walken. I asked why not include Christian Bale, for some added intensity. Brad didn’t disagree.

Then, came the revelation: These five actors should be The Five Silent Deaths and that Wu Tang Clan could provide the soundtrack.

Somebody get me an agent, I have a movie to make.

110111-bill-paxton-kung-fu

1 – Apologies for any horrible bastardization of the Spanish language in this post. I took Latin in high school, so Spanish isn’t exactly my strong suit.

Thoughts for a Tuesday

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Thoughts for a Tuesday

Tuesday – 21 April 2015
I knew that I wanted to post something this evening, but i wasn’t quite sure “what.”

I was helped in my decision by three things:

  1. A mental conversation that I had with myself on the way home,
  2. A friend’s announcement that her cancer is out of remission, and
  3. An off-hand comment that someone made to me in response to noting Item Number 2 that caught me sideways.

Let’s take these in order.

  • Item One
    On the way home, I asked myself: What is it that you cherish? 

    What I should have asked, while only a slightly different question, was: What do you cherish most? 

    To be honest, the first few things that came to mind when answering the first question were “things.” When I went back and prioritized my list to align properly with the second question, the “things” slipped a few notches.What I cherish the most are my family and friends. Period. Full stop.

    I have a small-ish family, by blood. I have a rather extensive extended family. Looking at it, I cast a rather large net when I define “my family.” They include the blood and by-marriage relations, but also a number of people who have become as close to me in spirit as those with whom I share biology.

    And, despite the miles apart or even the weeks or months between conversations, I’m glad to have them as part of my family. All of them.

  • Item Two
    I have a friend who fought – and beat – breast cancer five years ago. She’s a pretty amazing person, even without having beat cancer. Earlier today, she revealed that it was back. (I had a bit of a prelude of what was to come, from a conversation that we had last night.) She had the most amazing and positive attitude about beating cancer the last time, I expect nothing less than that same dogged determination in the way she faces it this time.After she made her announcement today, I realized that the two of us (among others) lost another friend – from the same circle of to friends – cancer… four years ago, I believe. I’m really hoping that it’s not something in the water, at this point.
  • Item Three
    I can be a rather flippant, at times. Cavalier, even. I admit that freely. But, I do know how – if not always when – to bite my tongue.Long story, greatly abridged version: This afternoon, I basically mentioned something related to my friend’s cancer returning. This evening, and rather out of the blue, I received a comment about what I had said. If I had to guess, it was a quick response to what I had said earlier – no true malice intended, but it came without context or understanding why I had commented the way I did. Reading it, I wasn’t mad. I was more annoyed at the way that it had come out of left field. I replied in a simple but very direct manner. Again, there was no malice, but I wanted to address it quickly and make it known that the comment was not appreciated.

    My message was received and acknowledged.

So, how do I tie all of these together in a big bow? Like this…

The person who made the comment is part of my family. My friend with cancer is part of “my family.” I love them both.

Do I have a problem reconciling this? Not really. Yes, there’s a part of me that is annoyed with the situations – the cancer and the comment – but at the end of the day, we’re still talking about two people for whom I care dearly.

That said, I ask those of you reading this to think about what it is that you cherish. Is it a thing or is it your relationships with your “family,” no matter how big or small it may be?

I’m not judging, either way. It’s not my place to give weight to what it is that other people value.

What I do ask is that you honestly assess what has such weight and meaning to you and show that care.

Be good to yourself. And to each other. And to those people, places, and things (hey, nouns!) that have meaning to and for you.

Namaste.

Happy Easter

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Happy Easter

Sunday – 05 April 2015
Happy Easter! May the joy and peace of the day be with you and your loved ones.

easter_crosses

easter_chicks

Namaste.

“Carve away the stone, Sisyphus…”

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Thursday – 02 April 2015
Another No Bad News Thursday draws to a close and I realize that it’s been a little while since I’ve blown the cobwebs off of here.

Life is good. I really can’t complain. Oh, sure, getting Team DiVa to actually go to sleep when we put them to bed can be… trying, but they’re kids. It’s normal. I just hope that this phase passes relatively quickly. (That’s normal, too, right? I mean, to hope for that as a parent…)

Last weekend, we took the girls up to Antelope Island. (On which, I have never seen antelope…) We did see bison, however. We also flew a kite and the girls threw rocks in the water. What can I say? It’s one of their favorite pastimes. They also touched the Great Salt Lake… and got a little muddy and sandy, which caused a little consternation on their parts/amusement on ours.

IMG_4083

IMG_4102

IMG_4088

I also stopped at a train store not far from the island, Almosta Junction. Although, compared to the last time I was there, it could just as easily be called “Almost a train shop.” It was a bit sad to see how little inventory they had. That store is definitely a labor of love.

Later that evening, I went to hear Jonni Lightfoot and W. James Woods play at a local restaurant.

IMG_4109

It was a good evening, until the waitress – not 10 minutes after I had paid – came back to tell me that they had no record of me having done so.

*grblsnrkx*

Fortunately, my bank and its app, had my back. Right there on the screen, big as day and twice as bright, was the charge against my account. Idiotsticks.

Stray Toasters

  • We “cut the cord” last week. We bought an HD over-the-air antenna (which has been great) and are just using our Roku (with Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Sling). It’s been good. I do miss the flexibility of having a DVR to catch the things we miss, but I’ve been able to stream those shows, so no major loss.
  • This past Sunday was Palm Sunday. Every year, I recall the song Palm Sunday Downpour, as done by a trio of guys I know who used to go by the band name: Hat. On a lark, I decided to see if I could find a copy of the song on the ‘tubes. Lo and behold, I did. Not only that, It’s been updated and redone by one of the original band members, Christian Scott Martin. It’s not quite the version I remember, but it’s pretty damned close.
  • I’ve been playing – and enjoying the crap out of – Disney Infinity. I just finished the Avengers Play Set a few days ago. The final boss, a Frost Giant monster, took out my entire Avengers lineup. I wound up having to finish it off with Rocket Raccoon, which made me grin like a fiend. God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll probably get started on the Guardians of the Galaxy set this weekend.
  • Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
  • Words that I never thought I’d string together: “Read this insurance company fan-fic.

That’s good for now. And, I can still get it in under the wire and still call it “today.” Nice.

Namaste.

Coffee and Other Things That Made Me Smile This Morning

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Coffee and Other Things That Made Me Smile This Morning

Thursday – 05 March 2015
It’s just another Manic Monday No Bad News Thursday.

My day started a little earlier than usual, as I had to be on-site about an hour-and-a-half early to follow up on a [EXPLETIVES DELETED] [REDACTED] project. As I was getting ready, I heard Vanessa milling about in her room. I went in and told her that it was still “sleeping time” and that she should go back to sleep. She didn’t, but she did lie quietly in bed.

Ten or fifteen minutes later, I heard her making (mostly) quiet noises; I went back in to check on her. She asked “Is the sun up?” I told her that it was, but that it wasn’t time to wake up yet; I asked if she wanted to go into the other bedroom and hang out with Sara! until it was time to get up. She said “no,” and that she wanted to read in bed. I told her that would be fine. She got one of her My Little Pony comics, crawled under her covers, and proceeded to “read” it.

Shortly, I was packed up and out the door. I didn’t set the coffee maker last night, therefore, I had no to-go cup of caffeinated goodness this morning. I rectified that with a trip to Pin-up Girl Espresso.

i-need-about-a-kiddie-pool-of-coffee-straight-to-my-dome-every-morning

I paid with a card, but didn’t have anything smaller than a $5 bill with me for a tip. So, I gave Mia the five, told her to take her tip out of it and to apply the rest to the next person’s drink order. Why not make someone else’s day a little better, if you can, after all?

On to work.

And that’s where I am. Time to chase down info for this project, put out some fires, and just be awesome. Possibly even in that order.

Quote of the Day
I messaged Sara! a little while ago, to see how morning prep with Team DiVa went. This was how that conversation went:

Robert:
Good morning!
I hope that getting under way wasn’t too bad…

Sara:
Good morning!
The only big meltdown was when the girls realized that you were already gone for the day and they couldn’t give you a hug and a kiss. It was meltdown city.

Robert:
Well, damn. I’m sorry.

Sara:
It was very sweet that they were so upset. It was okay. we sorted it out.

Robert:
Okay.

Sara:
And, we took a rocket ship ride to the moon this morning. Then the rocket ship took me to work. So the astronauts are going to stay on the moon all day, and the rocket ship will pick them up and bring them back to earth tonight.

Robert:
HAHAHAhA that’s awesome.

Sara:
Yeah, it was pretty good. DIana wasn’t into it this morning (contrast to yesterday) but by the time we were almost to learning tree she was on board looking for planets and aliens. So it turned out okay.

I love those kids and their imaginations.

As I noted above: It’s No Bad News Thursday… get out there and attack the day!

Namaste.

Time in a bottle…

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Time in a bottle...

Thursday – 19 February 2015
Last night, Sara, #Team DiVa and I went out for dinner – the girls’ choice. While out, I ran into this little lady, my “cousin,” Kylie:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kylie: Disneyland – Electric Light Parade

The only thing: She wasn’t so little anymore. This picture was taken in 2001, so you can imagine what adding 13.5 years would do. And, it’s been at least 4-5 years since I last saw her. She has grown into a lovely young lady. (Her mom has every reason to be proud.)

It was a very pleasant surprise to my evening.

Stray Toasters

  • Your Coffee Addiction Is Officially Good for You (not that I needed validation)
  • Someone posted the following picture into an H.P. Lovecraft group yesterday:
    spider-cat
    It… inspired me to come up with this:

    Spider-Cat! Spider-Cat!
    More evil than a Devil-Bat!
    Claws your arm or your thigh
    Makes you sleep with one eye…
    OPEN!
    Here comes the Spider-Cat!

  • Adult Wednesday Addams
    “Adult” as in “not a child,” not as in “risque.”
  • DC Comics has made some… curious… decisions in the past few years. One decision that has been “good” is the one to start a new, out-of-continuity Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman book. If you’re a Wonder Woman fan and are not reading this book, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
  • From Javier Grillo-Marxuach: The Audacity of Being Jaded

Namaste.

Tautology

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Tautology

Wednesday – 18 February 2015
Today is Ash Wednesday. It is also NBN Thursday Eve.

I was going to post something last night, but I got too distracted by The Flash and Firestorm(!)1.

And a RubySnap cookie and a glass of milk.

And Titanfall.

So, I’m posting today.

This past weekend, Sara!, Team DiVa and I took a trip to Promontory, UT to visit the Golden Spike National Historic Site (read: “TRAINS!!!”) and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. (For pictures, click here.) It was only a couple of hours to Golden Spike, which wasn’t as bad as I had thought. The site is way out in the middle of God’s own country, though. I commented to Sara! that for all the time – not really that much – that it took to get there at 65 MPH+, I could only imagine what it must have been like to try to cover that distance via horse, or wagon. Or, slower still, while trying to lay miles of railroad track. The site was nice, but I was a little disappointed that the locomotives weren’t on display. (That just means that I’ll have to head back up there to see the reenactment of the driving of the golden spike in May.)

From there, we headed out to the Spiral Jetty. While the two sites are only 15 miles apart, it took about 45 minutes to get from Golden Spike to the jetty. The water level on the Great Salt Lake was low. Very low. So low that we were able to walk out to the end of the jetty – 1500 feet – and we were still at least 300 feet from water!

Sunday, we decided to tackle a painting project: Our bedroom. Furniture out. Ladders in. Paint on. We moved our bed to the living room Sunday night, which threw Team DiVa for a bit of a loop Monday morning:

Diana: Why is your new bed in the living room?

Me: It’s not a “new” bed, we just moved it out here.

Diana: Oh.

We went on to explain that we did it since we were painting the bedroom; that answer appeased them.

Sara spent Monday morning/afternoon re-doing the baseboard and crown molding paint, while I vacuumed and shampooed the carpet, replaced four electrical outlets… and then tried to suss out why the overhead lights wouldn’t turn off.

*braincramp*

After a quick consultation with my father-in-law, he suggested that I check the old outlets and verify that they had broken metal connectors on the hot side. They did.  I broke the connectors on two of the new outlets and the lights worked in the manner to which we were accustomed once more!

We moved the furniture back in and slept in our newly-painted room on Monday night. Selah. It was a lot of ass-busting and elbow grease over two days, but it was worth it.

Stray Toasters

  • I stumbled across a picture of VP Biden holding/rubbing/whatever the shoulders of the newly-appointed Secretary of Defense’s wife last night and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a caption:

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy...

    Creepy Vice-President is creepy.

  • Windows Updates. *sigh*
  • Despite the fact that Krispy Kreme UK unwittingly deemed today “KKK Wednesday,” I kind of still want a doughnut.
  • Today is apparently “National Drink Wine Day,” as well. I might have to imbibe a glass or two tonight.

And with that, I think I’m going to get “right on to the friction of the [rest of the] day.”

Namaste.

1Firestorm: The Nuclear Man debuted in 1978. I didn’t really become aware of the character until the second series, which started in 1982… but from then on, I was a fan. I haven’t been as invested in the New 52 version of the character, but I still like the character and the concept. So, when the news broke that he/they would be appearing on CW’s The Flash, my curiosity was piqued. The origin had been tweaked to fit the show, but it was close enough to the original for me. And, it featured all three of the main Firestorm characters – Ronnie Raymond, Martin Stein, and (in a nod to the updated, pre-New52 character) Jason Rusch.

An evening at the ballet

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An evening at the ballet

Thursday – 12 February 2015
Last night, I had the pleasure of accompanying Sara! to see Ballet West’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

(c) Ballet West

Photograph (c) Ballet West

I saw the 2006 production of Swan Lake, but it was far enough that the details had slipped away from me. Last night’s presentation was, to put it simply: Amazing.

We had box seats (stage right), which not only afforded us a fantastic view of the stage, set, dancers and costumes, but also put us above the orchestra pit.

IMG_3721

Being able to watch the orchestra as well as the dancers made for an interesting experience – we could see the conductor, Jared Oaks, as he guided the orchestra through Tchaikovsky’s work. We were also close enough to see – though not really read – the various instrumentalists’ scores. But, the biggest benefit to being so close: We were close to the dancers. We could easily read the expressions on their faces, see many of the fine details of their costumes, and even see the sheen of sweat from their exertions.

The costumes, as I’ve come to expect from Ballet West’s tailors and seamstresses, were exquisite. Our vantage point made it able for us to juxtapose Odette and Odile’s costumes. Baron von Rothbart’s costumes were as full of menace as the Baron himself. Sara! also keenly pointed out how, despite the uniformity of the swans’ costumes, they appaeared “a little different” on each performer.

The company’s dancing was fantastic; the dancers moved with a verve that belied what had to be hours of rigorous practice. It was also very evident that the dancers enjoyed what they were doing. I’d also like to point out a few key performances:

  • Beckanne Sisk was a pleasure to watch in her dual role as Odette and Odile. One of the most captivating things about her performance was how she portrayed the characters. Her Odette, prior to meeting Prince Siegfried, was sad and full of anguish; after meeting him, you could see hope and even desire, tinged with fear of Baron von Rothbart. Her Odile was full of a malevolent glee, toying with the prince’s emotions at her father’s behest.
  • Christopher Ruud‘s Prince Siegfried was similarly multi-faceted. During the 21st birthday celebration, he seemed full of life and joy. After meeting Odette, he exuded a sense of connection and longing. In the third act, when princesses from many lands came seeking his favor, he was forlorn and lost… until Odile, disguised as Odette appeared, when his joy was evident to all (to the chagrin of the visiting princesses – especially the Princess from Spain, performed by Jenna Rae Herrera.) He also clearly exhibited bravery, dread and loss during Act Four.
  • Christopher Anderson, as Baron von Rothbart, not only conveyed a seething malevolence in his dance, but his makeup and facial expressions brought it – and a measure of dark desire – to the fore, as well. The audience could almost “hear” the schemes and machinations playing out in his head during Act Three.

In all, this production of Swan Lake was a phenomenal treat for the senses. It is easy to understand why it has been performing to (near-) capacity crowds for its run. If you have a chance to see it before the run ends on Sunday, 15 February 2015, I highly recommend doing so.

Reason #2517 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

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Reason #2517 of “Why I’ll Never Be a News Director”

Saturday – 07 February 2015
On the “Trending” feed on Ye Olde Facebook, there were a couple of items: One about Kim Kardashian and one about (her step-father) Bruce Jenner.

trending

Fortunately, the Jenner article is not about his gender reassignment. I say “fortunately” because if that’s the choice s/he has made, it’s her/his choice. It doesn’t affect anyone outside of her/him and or her/his family. Period. Full stop. However, there’s been a lot of hullaballoo about it, I would assume based on Jenner’s fame as an Olympic decathlete.

I would qualify the above item as being newsworthy based on the fact that there was an accident and that someone, unfortunately, died.

The Kim Kardashian article, on the other hand? She got a haircut. Whoop-de-damn-doo. News? Hardly. People get haircuts every day (except, maybe, Mondays). Not newsworthy in the least. And, it’s only getting recognition because people have made her famous for being famous (1, 2).

And that’s today’s reason why I will probably never be a news director: I don’t see the percentage in putting someone in the spotlight for… non-news.

/soapbox

Oh, the Samuel L. Jackson article? *shrug* I’ll call it “entertainment news,” although it would probably be more of an “announcement.” But, it’s Samuel L. Jackson, so it kind of gets a bye on principle. Just because.

Namaste.