Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Stray Toaster Post

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This being my journal and repository for all of my random thoughts, I have mentioned that I am not a country music fan. Yes, there are some “crossover” songs that I can tolerate… even like. I can freely admit that. But, for the most part: I don’t care for country music.

Rather than retype this, I’ll just cut and paste a conversation that I had with a little while ago:

[00:39] ShadoRunr: Y’know….
[00:39] ShadoRunr: I’m not a big country fan.
[00:39] ShadoRunr: At all.
[00:39] ShadoRunr: BUT….
[00:39] EphemeralRage: Right..
[00:39] ShadoRunr: I do like the Dixie Chicks’ cover of “Landslide” a bit. It could have been FAR worse.
[00:39] ShadoRunr: Here’s something else:
[00:40] ShadoRunr: I like Jimmy Buffett.
[00:40] ShadoRunr: Some of his songs have a definite country twang to them.
[00:40] EphemeralRage: ROFL
[00:40] ShadoRunr: I don’t mind.
[00:40] ShadoRunr: Here’s the kicker, though:
[00:40] EphemeralRage: God. I live in a beach town, I can’t handle Jimmy.
[00:40] ShadoRunr: I was listening to the radio a little while ago.
[00:40] ShadoRunr: “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits came on.
[00:41] ShadoRunr: Damn if it didn’t sound like a country song, when I really listened to it.
[00:41] ShadoRunr: If you have the mp3, listen to it.
[00:41] ShadoRunr: You’ll see.

“Watch his every move…”

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And so, it’s almost the end of another year.

I don’t have anything to follow that up with; it was more of an observation than an exposition.

Song of the Day
Steam by Peter Gabriel, from the CD “Us.”

Stray Toasters

  • I thought about something after seeing Catch Me If You Can last night: The movie wasn’t just about the life and crimes of one of the world’s most successful confidence man. It was also the story of a boy in search of his own identity (while trying out many others) and it was the story of a boy/man and his relationship with his father. And, it was good on all levels.
  • I’m watching G.I. Joe again. It’s bad. I know it’s bad… but I can’t stop watching. *cracks up* One of the characters was just talking about Cobra Commander and it almost sounded like he said “Copacabana.”
  • I talked to my father for a bit today. All is still quiet on the home front.
  • For and : Tonight’s Top Ten List on The Late Show with David Letterman was “Top Ten Least Impressive James Bond Gadgets.” Check out the list here.
  • A commercial for the new version of Star Search was just on. It mentioned that the show was responsible for discovering such entertainers as Ray Romano and Alanis Morrisette. While I don’t dislike either of them (I even have a copy of Little Miss Angry Alanis’ first CD), I am sure that there are some people who would say “Oh… so THAT’s who we have to thank/blame for that!!!”
  • Zours are tasty.

That’s enough for tonight.


“In every place with a name, they play the same territorial game…”

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Sunday (coda)
Despite the devastation that I felt as a result of today’s games, it’s been a good day.

Stray Toasters

  • Okay, the Ravens AND the Dolphins lost. I guess that means that I have to find some other team for whom to cheer for the remainder of the playoffs. In fact, my uncle called this afternoon. He wanted to see if I was going to root for the Steelers; I told him that the wound (from the Baltimore-Pittsburgh game) was still a little too fresh for me to make that kind of commitment. We both got a good laugh about that. Then he said that he’d call back mid-week to see if I had changed my mind.
  • I went to Borders, had a Café Mocha and did some drawing.
  • Jess, Mary, John, Larry and I went to see Catch Me If You Can tonight. It was a fun (and funny – at the right times) movie. The score was by John Williams… but it didn’t sound like a typical Williams score. And, any movie that has a good version of The Girl from Ipanema in it can’t be (all) bad.
  • I like Plantation Mint tea from Bigelow. I am having a cup of it now.
  • I like “Boomeraction” on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. I got to see an episode of the 1967 Fantastic Four. In watching that (and a few other toons), I realized that some of the toons from “back in the day” didn’t hold back on the on-screen violence… or at least the implied violence; it was kind of funny to see Reed Richards crack some guy in the jaw. Twice. (You’d think that with a name like “Mr. Fantastic” that he’d manage to pack a little more wallop in a punch.)

    I also caught an episode of The Arabian Knights. Here‘s a minor recap of the cartoon from Yesterdayland:

    And let’s not forget the Arabian Knights. Led by Prince Turhan and Princess Nidor, this odd group of heroes did battle with the evil Bakaar to try to recapture Turhan’s throne. Bez, Farik, and Raseem were the three magicians who assisted the royal duo through an array of magical spells. Along for comic relief and a well-placed mule kick was Zazu the donkey.

    In light of our “war on terrorism” (and whatever else the Shrub can decide to wage war on), it was a bit odd to recognize that the protagonists banded together to protect/defend Baghdad.

And that, I think, is all for now. Once again.


“…in the end.”

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They lost. They had a sizable 4th Quarter lead, but it fell apart with a little over four minutes left. It came down to an interception with 14 seconds left. *sigh* At least I’ll have the satisfaction of seeing three Ravens (Pete Boulware, Todd Heap and Jonathon Ogden) play in the Pro Bowl. All things considered, the Ravens had a good season… and there is always next year.

It now comes down to the Dolphins. They are tied with 1:09 left in the 4th. If they can’t pull out a win, then I’ll have to cast my playoff lot with some random team.

I think that I am going to one of the local bookstores and do some mid-afternoon drawing before movienight.


“You’ve got to pick up the pace, if you want to stay in the race.”

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Quiet day… until about :40 minutes ago. That’s when it became “Gameday.”

::: Football Update :::

The Ravens are playing for a potential wild card spot. They not only have to win, but four (4) other teams have to lose in order for it to happen. That’s a bit of an outside chance… but it’s a chance, nonetheless.
::: End Update :::

Otherwise, there’s not too much to say yet. That being the case, I think that I’ll wrap this up.


“More than just the bottom line or a lucky shot in the dark…”

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All’s quiet on the Utah front…

My Christmas gift from Jess’ parents arrived today. When I opened it, I had to laugh. It wasn’t because it was a bad gift; on the contrary, it was very cool… AND it was right in line with the superhero-themed Christmas that I got from Jess:

  • Issue #1 of X-Men (1991 series), signed by Chris Claremont
  • Bagged, unopened copy of Superman #75: “The Death of Superman”
  • Bagged, unopened copy of The Adventures of Superman #500: “Back from the Dead?!” and
  • Web of Spider-Man #90: Giant-sized 30th Anniversary Special

Yep, I think that this the most singularly-themed Christmas that I can remember. That’s not a bad thing… not by a longshot.

Stray Toasters

  • Quiet day at work today: I was the only one there. I was working with our database… when it was in a cooperative mood.
  • My uncle called today. The first thing that he asked me was whether or not we had any aspirin at home. Since he’s a doctor, I got a little concerned… I thought that there might have been some new finding about aspirin or a particular brand that was in the news. Nope. That wasn’t it at all. He just wanted to make sure that I had something on hand tomorrow during the Ravens-Steelers game. Apparently, he’s expecting the team from the Pitt to give the Ravens some trouble. We shall see…
  • Talked to my dad and brother for a bit. All seems to be well on the homefront.
  • Had dinner with Mary and Jess at Red Lobster. It wasn’t bad, even though I’m not a huge fan of the restaurant. After that, we went to Borders for a bit. I did some drawing.
  • Bowling. My first three games weren’t too spectacular. My fourth game… was ON. I bowled a new all-time high: 254. I was QUITE stoked. The games after that just didn’t matter; they weren’t bad, but I was still excited about “The Big Game.”
  • Traditional post-pin killing eats at the V.I. and then home.

That pretty much covers everything. And now, to get some much needed (and wanted) shut-eye.


“Boy before the mirror checks his camouflage, polishes his armor and the charger in the garage…”

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Today was a pretty run of the mill day. Nothing too exciting, nothing too drab.

NPR/PRI Stories
Of course, the news of the day was of the birth of the first alleged cloned human baby. Interesting. Curious, even. How true is it? Only time will tell. I find it… odd that the person that Clonaid has chosen to lead the investigation is none other than former ABC News Science Editor/Correspondent Michael Gillen.

Song of the Day
Remedy by the Black Crowes, from the CD “Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.”

Stray Toasters

  • The Christmas package from my mother arrived today. I have the coolest mom in the universe. No… why stop there? I have the coolest mom in the multiverse. (And that’s saying something.)
  • The more that I play Ghost Recon, the more that I like it. I am still getting used to the gameplay, so I am also having members of my assault teams meet with untimely demises, but that’s part of the learning curve.


“It’s time I was king now…”

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Thursday (coda)
Today has been a good day.

  • I slept in.
  • I spent the early part of the day being lazy. Of course, this afforded me the opportunity to watch parts of Octopussy and Dr. No as part of TNN’s “007 Days of Christmas” lineup.
  • Jess and I went out to lunch.
  • Made a stop at Best Buy… from which I emerged empty-handed!
  • Went to CompUSA… from which I did NOT emerge unscathed; I bought a copy of Ghost Recon (which I shall play shortly).
  • We went to the Sprint store where I picked up a new PCS Vision phone.
  • Off to Jordan Commons Larryland: South to see The Lion King on the “Super Screen.” This is one of my favorite Disney movies of the past 10 years (give or take). It was fun. Plain and simple. It was also cool to get some of the references that I didn’t get when the movie was originally released.

    Next year: Aladdin is being released next Christmas in large screen format. This means that my bum will be firmly planted in a theatre chair either next Christmas day or the day after.

That’s about it for now.


“You know we’re having good days and we hope they’re gonna last…”

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The best way to follow up a great Christmas: A lazy day off. And, that’s just what I am doing.

Song of the Day
Since today is a “do nothing” (or at least a “do as little as possible”) day, today’s musical oleo will be based on the theme of taking it easy:

  • Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  • Take it Easy by The Eagles and
  • Take Five as done by Al Jarreau

Stray Toasters

  • Tuesday night, I watched an ep of DS9 for the first time in many rains. Added bonus: It was an episode that I hadn’t seen before. When the theme started, I was so shocked that the first words out of my mouth were “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” When I realized what I had said, I started laughing. A lot.
  • I’ve been watching Cartoon Network for a bit over the past couple of days. I may be getting drawn into liking the Dragonball series (Dragonball and Dragonball Z) and Zoids. And, it doesn’t hurt that they are re-airing episodes of Batman Beyond, either.

Time to go out and play…


“Lonely things like nights I find end finer with a friend.”

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Christmas Wrap-up
After going to bed to a slightly overcast sky, we awakened to a light blanket of snow. It was nothing like what my family in Baltimore was telling me that they got, but it was still enough to give us a white Christmas (just like Bing Crosby sang of).

We called and talked to my family units before Jess went to work; I was rather lazy for most of the early part of the day, otherwise. I think that the highlight of that part of the day was watching Live and Let Die on TNN.

Steve and John, knowing that Jess and I were “orphans,” invited us to join them (and some of their friends) for dinner. Once again, they provided a great meal and wonderful hospitality. Following dinner, we watched a movie called 24 Nights. This was an interesting, if somewhat campy, movie. Jess came over when she got out of work. After she had eaten, and we watched a David Blaine special, we played a game called Phase 10. It was kind of like Uno… on crack. But, it was challenging and fun.

It was a good day. Very good.

And, as promised: Here are the “What did you get?!?” pictures.

And now, I am off to enter the realms of The Dreaming.


“This moment may be brief, but it can be so bright…”

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Wednesday (wee hours of the morning)
Merry Christmas to all. And, to those who do not celebrate Christmas: May you enjoy the peace and joy of the holiday season.

Song of the Day
There are a veritable plethora of worthy Christmas and holiday songs, but I’m going to indulge myself and make today’s selection: Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by Mr. Crosby and Mr. Bowie.

Stray Toasters
We didn’t have any decorations up, so after I got in from work (and after a sufficient amount of “lazy time”), I put up the tree tonight. I wanted to have it done by the time Jess got in from work. Ah, the element of surprise…

Jess and I exchanged gifts at 12:30 AM, since she has to work from 9:30 – 6:00 tomorrow (today).So, what did she get me?

  • A bear (named “Hero”) in a superhero costume from Build-A-Bear
  • Comic books:
    • A preview edition of Image Comics’ Masters of the Universe series;
    • The #0 issue of the Future Comics Freemind;
    • Issue #1 of Image’s G.I. Joe: Front Line (Platinum Foil Edition) and
    • Issue #181 of Wolverine, signed by Frank Tieri.
  • Monopoly – Justice League of America (Special Collector’s Edition) and
  • An acetate lithograph of “X-Men: Death of Phoenix”.

She said that she had been waiting very anxiously to give me the litho; she knew that I had been wanting it for some time, now. She had originally ordered it for my birthday, but there was a problem with the order. So, for the past couple of weeks, she has been wanting to give it to me… but still wanted to wait for Christmas. She exhibited iron-clad will and fortitude in exercising restraint and patience.

I’ll follow up on last year’s “take pictures of the stuff” tradition sometime after the sun has made an appearance. And, as if I haven’t said it enough:

Coolest girlfriend ever!
::: gesture :::

The hour is getting late. I think that I shall retire.
Again, “Seasons greetings” to all and I hope that your holiday is happy and safe.


“In the high school halls… In the shopping malls…”

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And, so, the Day before Christmas is upon us.
Let all the world (or at least all the world’s retailers) tremble.

Song of the Day
Today’s selections are a themed package rather than songs by one artist.

  • Run, Run, Rudolph by Chuck Berry (of Johnny B. Goode fame)
  • Santa Claus Is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Stray Toasters
Hmm… I can’t think of anything, at the moment, so I’ll leave this (relatively) blank for now.


“Pavements may teem with intense energy, but the city is calm in this violent sea.”

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It’s Monday morning. Getting ready to head to work. And, that’s not a bad thing.
Christmas is now less than 48 hours away and that is not a bad thing either… except for the fact that Jess has to work that morning. Holy ‘Bah Humbugs,’ Batman! But, I’ll get to spend the evening/rest of the day AND the day after with her.

Song of the Day
Christmas Auld Lang Syne… by Bobby Darin, from “Mack the Knife: The Best of Bobby Darin (Vol. 2).”

Stray Toasters
I still need to pick up a couple of items and then my shopping will be complete. More or less.


“Toll the bell, pay the private eye… All’s well, the 20th Century dies.”

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Quiet and fairly lazy day, so far. The operative words in that sentence are “so far.” I have to run out and do a little shopping in a bit, but that’s okay. A couple of stops at The Gateway and I’m set.

Football Update
The Dolphins lost to the Vikings yesterday.
The Panthers are handing out a little punishment to Da Bears… so far.
The Ravens are taking on the Browns later this afternoon. This is a home game for the Boys from Baltimore. This is a good thing, since Art Modell and company are not too well thought of in Cleveland. (It has something to do with Mr. Modell taking the then-Browns to Baltimore and re-christening them “The Ravens.”) Both teams are 7-7 and are looking for a little bit of magic to get them into a wild card spot in the AFC playoffs.

Stray Toasters

  • I’m hungry. And the only thing that I think will satiate the hunger is a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats. No… I think that a Cinnabon® would do it, too, but I have 0.00% motivation to go and get one.
  • We stopped at the Sprint PCS store last night on the way to dinner. After 2½ years, I think that it’s time to (finally) change my phone. I was looking at some of the PCS Vision phones. Nice. Quite nice, in fact. I have thought about getting one for a while, but the cost of the Vision service was a bit much, at the time. In looking at the brochures, it seems that price is no longer a factor – I can get a slightly better airtime package and PCS Vision service for $1 more than I am paying now. Yes, the omens augur favorably. I think that there is a service change in the offing…
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. We’re going to see it again tonight. And, while I am thinking about it: I cannot believe the furor into which some people worked themselves over the title of this movie. There were actually those who wanted them to change the name because they felt that it was insensitive (or possibly TOO sensitive) in light of the September 11th attacks.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?
    ::: boggle :::

    Let’s see… the books were written in the mid-1950s. THE 50s! While I understand that people want to honor/commemorate the victims of the events of last year, this is like saying that an Apple computer (sorry, calling it an iMac would not work for this example) should be called something else because Eve took a bite of the apple in Genesis.

    Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t think so.

  • As I mentioned last night, I had a theory about my blue bowling ball that I wanted to test. I did. There seemed to be merit to it, as well.

    What was the problem? I have been developing a hook in my delivery, but it wasn’t working with the recently-resurfaced ball; it was perfectly happy just rolling along in a straight line… much to my dismay and chagrin. Occasionally (far too infrequently), it would actually veer a little in the direction that I had wanted it to go. My theory was that I wasn’t following-through quite enough after I released the ball and that a proper follow-through would deliver more consistent results. And it did. I’m still not “perfect” with it, but am getting closer to getting it to do what I want.

Okay, off to sate the hunger beast and to get ready to face the shopping masses.


“Everybody need a mood lifter…”

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I went to work (was the only one there for about 2 hours), for what I had planned on being only a half day. It turned into a 3/4 day. But it’s all good. It was a rather quiet and still somewhat productive day; I even had (or rather “got”) to go on a ‘field trip’ to locate some display pieces.

Post-work: The obligatory stop at the comics shop. Bonus points because they are having a back issue sale… and I got a couple of good series of stories from the now defunct Vertigo series The Sandman. I picked up issues from “Distant Mirrors,” “The Doll’s House,” “The Dream Country” and “Season of Mists.” If you have never read any of this series, I highly recommend it; you can find (and read) the trade paperbacks in your local B&N, Borders, or other bookstore.

Jess and I ate dinner at The Mayan. Very good. Dinner and a “show;” they have “cliff divers” that perform inside the restaurant. Quite the spectacle.

Right now, a little bit of downtime… and then we’re off to bowl. I want to test out a theory that I had last weekend. I think that I may have just figured out how to compensate for an issue that I’ve been having with the blue bowling ball since it was resurfaced.