Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

On the eve of All Hallow’s Eve…

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It snowed all day.

Tonight’s episode of CSI featured “plushies” and “furries.” came over about halfway through the show; she and Jess watched the last half of the show with me. All of us were a little shocked that CBS actually broached the subject of plushies/furries, let alone based half of the episode on it.

After that I half-watched an episode (and about a third of another ep) of Sex in the City with them. That show does absolutely nothing for me. I left during the second episode because I could feel the grey matter oozing out of my right ear.

NPR and PRI Stories

Stray Toasters

  • Okay. This is the last time I’ll say this. At least for today. It snowed.
  • The first issue of my Sports Illustrated subscription arrived today. Both copies. O_o I don’t know why the fine folks at AOHell Time-Warner thought that I needed two issues, but I’m not about to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.
  • “Genetically Modified Products” This is the label that is most often given to crops and livestock that has had… well… genetic modifications. They are often referred to as “GM Products.” I remember one of the first times that I heard (and paid attention to) this abbreviation. I couldn’t figure out why they were talking about parts for General Motors cars in the middle of a discussion about crops and livestock.
  • I found many a Lego-related site that made me smile today. Especially one that had a book on it about how to build a Chessie System (Chesapeake and Ohio, one of the major railroad lines back home) engine.
  • Do we really need made-for-TV movies (or any) movies about Elizabeth Smart or Jessica Lynch? No? I didn’t think so either. It’s good that both were able to return home from their respective situations. Now, let them go. Thank you, move along.

Quotes of the Day
Both of today’s quotes came from tonight’s episode of CSI:

  • Catherine and Grissom walk into a “Plushies and Furries Convention”
    Catherine: I think I’m having Hunter Thompson’s flashbacks…

  • After the crime involving furry/plushy conventioneers has been solved
    Grissom: Fur and loathing in Las Vegas…


Thurrrsday morning

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First things first: Welcome to !

Considering the fact that I got to bed early (for me) last night, I slept poorly. Which made waking up this morning less-than-fun. The fact that it was cold (colder than I like, at least) didn’t help, either. Add to that: Snow. Yes, snow. In October. After five years in Utah, I still do not grok this concept.

Fortunately, there was an amusing exchange on IRC to make me laugh:

Background note – has an old bomb in her back yard

[09:23] *** Joins:
[09:23] ehehehe
[09:23] *** SuxBot sets mode: +o
[09:24] eh
[09:24] *** Quits: (Client Quit)
[09:24] *** Joins:
[09:24] re
[09:24] “;[
[09:25] roller coaster irc.
[09:25] *** SuxBot sets mode: +o
[09:25] *mycah* [server name] seems like a good server to me.
[09:25] *mycah* I haven’t been booted.
[09:26] i can’t seem to connect to it.
[09:26] i tell it to, and it gives me a different server anyway.
[09:27] *mycah* ghey
[09:27] whey
[09:28] *Iso8* you have been banned for crimes against humanity. the goatse pumpkin for starts.
[09:28] Try: [server name two]
[09:28] [server name two] hates me too. that was what i used for a long time.
[09:31] The Internet hates you.
[09:32] already knew that.
[09:33] *Iso8* now that you have your own scud missile in the back yard. send the internet a warning letter to get its shit together.
[09:33] *cracks up*

Things were made a little better after I got to work. I know… that sounds completely oxymoronic, but bear with me. I checked my email and in one of the TechTarget dailies was a link. To The National Beard Registry. The icons in the text are links to pictures.

And I have coffee.

One more day to Friday…

“In space, no one can hear you scream.”

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The day started s-l-o-w-l-y. Even after coffee. But, I think that it was because I was looking forward to post-work activities. Despite lethargy and a few bouts of boredom, I managed to be productive.

After work, , and I had dinner at Tucci’s. After that we, along with , , and , went to see Alien – The Director’s Cut. That was fun. Tom Skerritt looked so… young. And scruffy. Definitely not the look to which I have grown accustomed. (“Time may change me, but I can’t trace time…“) I might have to track down The Alien Legacy: Twentieth Anniversary Collection. And, I finally had the cotton candy that I have been craving for the past few weeks!

After the movie, we went to Cheers Village Inn for a late snack.

Stray Toasters

  • We saw movie previews for AVP: Aliens vs. Predator, Resident Evil 2 and Disney’s Haunted Mansion. I’ll even go on the record as saying that Mansion looks like it could be fun.
  • Tonight’s milkshake had the right consistency, tasted great AND was mixed all the way to the bottom of the cup! I think that I have gotten the hang of making them.
  • Mini-Rant #1: The people who brought four or five small children to Alien. I could be wrong about this, but I am pretty sure that they will come to regret this decision in the wee hours of the morning when the kids wake up screaming about a monster coming to get them.
  • Mini-Rant #2: The people (plural) who:
    1. …didn’t turn off their cell phones before the movie started
    2. …decided to have part of their conversation in the theatre before deciding to get up and go out into the lobby.
  • : Will Jeff actually go see AVP when it comes out?
  • From the “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” file: Microsoft Fires Mac Fan for Blog Photo
  • Amusement from Comics2Film

And that’s all. For now.


“So much to say, so much to say, so much to say…”

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Today was a pretty good day.
Nothing out of the ordinary: Home… Work… Home.

The season premiere of 24 was very good. And commercial-free. I had to leave the room twice (*grr* Damned need to eat!) during the broadcast. Kiefer Sutherland continues to impress me as Jack Bauer. Dennis Haysbert as President Palmer… great. Even Elisha Cuthbert (Jack’s daughter, Kim) had a few surprises up her sleeve. This should be quite a season.

Tonight’s episode of Law & Order: SVU was a good follow-up to 24. I haven’t gotten into Law & Order: Deep Space Nine Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but that’s on Sunday nights when we are usually out for dinner, a movie and coffee.

I’m not usually given to taking quizzes, but this one was amusing.

My LiveJournal Trick-or-Treat Haul
shadorunr goes trick-or-treating, dressed up as Phantom of the Opera.
biloba gives you 2 green spearmint-flavoured pieces of chewing gum.
dangermouse_ut gives you 17 tan grapefruit-flavoured gummy bears.
khayla tricks you! You get a pencil.
melodywise gives you 19 orange grapefruit-flavoured hard candies.
nyx_hemsut tricks you! You get a piece of string.
suzie_lightning tricks you! You lose 3 pieces of candy!
trellos tricks you! You lose 12 pieces of candy!
very_jentle gives you 15 pink root beer-flavoured pieces of chewing gum.
yerac gives you 3 dark green lemon-flavoured pieces of bubblegum.
zeeke gives you 10 dark green lemon-flavoured pieces of bubblegum.
shadorunr ends up with 51 pieces of candy, a pencil, and a piece of string.
Go trick-or-treating! Username:
Another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern.

NPR and PRI Stories
Talk of the Nation: Competing for Congregants

Americans like choice even when it comes to religion. That means churches have to compete for congregants. Join host Neal Conan and guests to talk about religion in the marketplace.

All Things Considered: The Anger Management Industry
All Things Considered: Commentary: Anger Management
All Things Considered: 24 Returns for More CIA Thrills

Stray Toasters

  • From Slashdot: X17 Solar Flare Sends 2B Tons of Plasma at Earth
  • As if football wasn’t enough, I’m watching the Mavericks-Lakers game on TNT. They are calling The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Gary Payton and Shaquille O’Neal “The Fantastic Four” My inner comic geek is not sure if I find that amusing or not… (The Lakers won, by the way.)
  • Extreme Pumpkins
  • From Comics2Film: Featured Filmmaker – Richard Donner

    Superman: I will arm wrestle anyone that tries to disparage the best superhero film ever made. There are no rubber suits, no leather, no winking, no embarrassment – no, what you get is a film that presents an iconic superhero utilizing Donner’s buzz word while tackling the film, “verisimilitude.” Christopher Reeve was perfect for the role because he betrayed no discomfort while inhabiting it. He wasn’t self-aware as an actor in long underwear – he was Superman, and his confidence in the role allowed the audience to be swept up in the film. As a kid, I believed a man could fly, and I credit Donner’s direction. Superman is available on DVD from Warner Bros. Home Video.

    Amen. (Of course, if you’re a regular reader of my journal, you know that I am a BIG fan of this movie.)

Quote of the Day
While picking up Jess from work, I saw one of my former coworkers…

Me: There goes X of the perpetual scowl…
Jess: I think that she just got contacts.
Me: No, it’s not that. She seems to always be scowling.
Jess: X‘s just ugly.

After the shock of what she said wore off (about 2 seconds), I started laughing.


Tuesday morning…

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Miami at San Diego
Final Score 26 – 10
This game was moved to Arizona, in an effort to escape the fires that are raging in southern California. Tickets to the game were made available to Tempe-area residents at no charge, but attendees were asked to contribute to the San Diego Wildfire Relief Fund.

Three-for-three for the weekend ain’t bad. Not at all.

I’ve noted that some people on my friends list have taken the “My LiveJournal Trick-or-Treat Haul” Hallowe’en quiz. Apparently, I am quite the trickster. If I remember correctly, I have only given a treat to one person.

I’m not evil, I’m horribly misunderstood.

At the end of the day…

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I treated myself to sleeping in this morning.

Work. *bleh* I just couldn’t seem to get into “work” mode. Tomorrow should be better.

After work, I came home for a bit before heading off to Game Night… which was somewhat abortive. A number of things came up that kept the game from becoming cohesive. It was a little irritating, especially since I was looking forward to playing after the non-gaming night last week.

I’m sure that there’s more that I had thought would be good to add to this entry, but it all seems to have drizzled out of my left ear.


Birthday Update (version 2.0)

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The evening was as exemplary as the early part of the day.

I got a call from my uncle… and, surprisingly, only passingly mentioned football. I didn’t even mention that the Ravens won and the Steelers lost. It was good to hear from him.

We went to dinner at Outback Steakhouse. We had quite the turnout, working around the tables:

  • Jess and myself
  • and Young Miss Fiona (who made me a Powerpuff Girl card!)
  • and Spydr
  • and her son, Gabe

  • Mary, Larry and Mycah
  • Gary (former coworker) and his wife, Coleen
  • Roger (former coworker) and his girlfriend, Tammy
  • Julia (former coworker)
  • , , Brandy and Chris

*WHEW* It was great fun. It seemed like everyone had a good time. I have wonderful friends.

Thank you to everyone who sent well-wishes for the day. They were not wasted.


Happy birthday to me…

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Just like Rolling Rock… except without the “What does it mean?”

And, so far, it’s been a great birthday:

  • I bowled ten (10) games last night. Eight of them were “ironman” games (I bowled them alone and back-to-back). Larry showed up for the last two. Post-bowling breakfast was good. , , , Spydr, Chris and Brandy joined us.
  • See Football Update (below) for football goodness.
  • Some very cool gifts:
    • Money from the ‘rents.
    • A miniature rock garden and fountain from Jess.
    • Lego® Star Wars Minis from Jess’ parents! (AT-AT and a Rebel Gunship)
  • Calls from the ‘rents, two-thirds of my sibko and one of Jess’ sisters.

And now, we’re off to dinner… and maybe a movie. Or just coffee.

Football Update
How’s this for a birthday present: Both the Ravens and Panthers won today.

Denver at Baltimore
Final Score: 6 – 26
This was a GREAT game. Denver scored first, but Baltimore came back with nine unanswered points. And with a couple of interceptions, they were able to put the game away.
Carolina at New Orleans
Final Score: 23 – 20
The Panthers won this one in overtime. I watched parts of this game during breaks in the Ravens game; it was a pretty tight game. But it was a “win” and that’s all that really matters, in the end.
Miami at San Diego
I’ll update on this one tomorrow night.

More later.


A quiet Saturday

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I woke up this morning and watched my usual round of toonage: Teen Titans and X-Men: Evolution. My summation of the XME episode: Wow. It was a great end to the Apocalypse storyline… and, if KidsWB doesn’t perform a rectal craniotomy, a great way for the series to end. Personally, I think that they would be shooting themselves in the proverbial foot if they don’t do a fifth season.

was planning on coming over for Covenant eradication, but Lady Kismet had other ideas. We shall reschedule.

I spent most of the afternoon cleaning up and (still) attempting to recover from last weekend’s move.

Spydr and came over later in the afternoon. We watched the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Princess Mononoke. I have to say that TCM was a bad movie. Horrid. I wouldn’t even rate it a “B Movie.” It was more like a “C or C+ Movie.” Mononoke, however, is a masterpiece.

Soon, it will be time for two-dimensional physics and post-bowling breakfast. Those will be good.

And tomorning is my birthday. ‘Nuff said.

::: looks at the clock :::

Time to get ready to head out.


“My name’s Friday. I carry a badge.”

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(…in that order)

A big thank you to for a slightly-early birthday present: A copy of Mythology by Alex Ross!

Alex Ross is the Norman Rockwell of comics. But he is more than that. He is a classic American success story: Once upon a time, a lonely little boy in Lubbock, Texas turned to comics and super heroes for friendship. They saved him, and twenty years later he returned the favor.

MYTHOLOGY: THE DC COMICS ART OF ALEX ROSS marks the first time outside of the comics market that a hardcover trade volume will feature the entire DC Comics universe of super heroes as imagined by a single visual artist. Over the past decade, Ross’s classically trained, hyper-realistic style has broken new ground and expanded the boundaries of how super heroic figures can be portrayed.

In addition to collecting the highlights of Ross’s considerable career at DC Comics, MYTHOLOGY will include hundreds of never-before-seen sketches and new material, including an original Superman and Batman story written by Chip Kidd, and a re-telling of Robin’s origin written by Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series). Geoff Spear, the award-winning photographer (Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schultz, The Little Friend, Seek My Face) shot all of the material from Ross’s original artwork. M. Night Shymalan, the acclaimed director of Signs and The Sixth Sense is writing the introduction. “Alex portrays his characters as human beings,” Shymalan has said, “they are affected by the events in their lives in real ways. You can see both the strengths and the weaknesses in his heroes, making them more universal.”

MYTHOLOGY will introduce these classic characters to a whole new generation, just as it convinces the rest of us to rediscover them all over again.
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp -from Barnes & Noble’s website

NPR and PRI stories

Stray Toasters

  • Need to outfit your private security force? I stumbled across this site while doing some research at work today. They even sell armored cars!
  • The weather has taken a definite turn towards more traditionally accepted “Autumn-like temperatures.” Oh, well.
  • By way of Slashdot: The Trouble with MMORPGs
  • Even if you missed out on the eBay auction for a decommissioned Russian sub (back in 2001), you can still have a sub of your own. For only $845,000. Want more details? Go here. For the record: The sub did not sell on eBay and was later purchased (for a fraction of the auction opening bid) for use in the Harrison Ford movie K-19: The Widowmaker.

Quote of the Day
: I want to be ghetto-fabulous!


“The wind can carry the echoes of the sea…”

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Good day at work…
Quiet evening at home.


Sidenote: I have listened to The Diane Rehm Show (“Rehm” pronounced “reem”) off and on for about a year-and-a-half now. I find it to be a good show, but I know many people who “can’t listen to it,” because her voice has an unusual, wavering quality that is a result of spasmodic dysphonia.

But even now, at the prime of her career, Diane Rehm has had to fight to retain her voice – the instrument that allows her to do what she does so well. In 1998, Rehm was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder, spasmodic dysphonia, that strangles the vocal cords, causing vocal tremors and worse. There is no cure. But the treatment, which consists of regular injections directly into the vocal cords of a strain of botulism, has allowed her to return to the airwaves she loves.
-excerpted from an interview in the Bay Weekly

I find the fact that she has confronted her illness and does a show despite it to be a story of great courage and achievement. If you get a chance to listen to her show, give it a try.

Stray Toasters

  • The Marlins beat the Yankees. *nod*
  • The neighbors started moving furniture again around 8:15. (Just as I was getting into tonight’s episode of CSI!!!) Jess was in another room. I yelled to her: “Jess, the neighbors are at it again!” Oddly enough, they stopped. Gee, I hope that I didn’t make them self-conscious or something…
  • Buick. “LaCrosse.” Quebec. It seems that “LaCrosse” is slang for “masturbation” in Quebec. Guess what Buick named one of their new cars. That’s a great use of the marketing research budget.

    In a related note: Lacrosse (the sport, not “the activity”) is often thought to be Maryland’s official state sport. It isn’t. The official state sport is: Jousting, not to be confused with “tilting” (as seen in movies like A Knight’s Tale or other medieval-setting movies).

  • I’m not sure “why,” but IE6 doesn’t seem to like locally applied styles. I’ve looked at a couple of my entries in Mozilla and they show up the way that I intended for them to show up; in IE, they are plain old run-of-the-mill text.
  • Sissy vs. the Pipes screen saver – Round 3.
  • There is… a house… in New Orleans…

And with that, I am off to wander on the other side of the gates of The Dreaming.


Midweek Wrap-Up

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I am a genius.

agreed to come over to help me figure out why the Windows PCs couldn’t connect to the Linux one. According to Linux, Samba was working properly. By all rights, the computers should have all been connected and happily playing together. But they weren’t. checked a couple of things and tried pinging the computers. No go. And that is when I noticed something: Only three out of four connection status lights were lit on the hub.

I had neglected to connect the Linux box to the hub.

Yes, “genius,” I say.

While we were working “under the hood,” so to speak, I replaced the NIC in Jess’ computer. She had been having a number of unusual problems with the network… and with normal operations. Once the NIC was swapped out, those problems disappeared.

Tonight was a beer/coffee group night. This week: beer. We met at the Porcupine Pub (at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon); and his wife joined us. The pub is celebrating Oktoberfest… right down to having a couple members of the waitstaff in “traditional” attire. I’m still not sure how I managed to miss the young lady in her… outfit (it wasn’t exactly run-of-the-mill)… when we first arrived. *shrug* It was a good time.

: Tell the missus that we’ll have to make a trip to Redrock (or Macaroni Grill) for another run at calamari.

NPR and PRI Stories

Stray Toasters

  • What kind of chew toy do you get for a dog that chews drywall?
  • I must remember to exact a terrible and painful retribution from Robert for sending me a link to that God-forsaken “Badger” cartoon/Flash thing.
  • ProudBody – I could try to explain, but it wouldn’t do any good. This must be experienced for the full effect.


Late morning thought

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I have coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
You may now suffer pangs of jealousy.

That is all.

At the end of the day…

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It was another information gathering day at work. Took a field trip in the late afternoon.

I did some of the rewiring when I got home. I am trying to route as many of the wires/cables as possible along the edges and legs of the desks. I need more Velcro cable ties, but it’s looking pretty decent, so far.

Stray Toasters

  • More conversations with the parental units. Mom’s school is undergoing evaluations by assessment teams from the state; it seems that some of the school’s curricula have been a bit below the acceptable criteria. She had assessors in her class last week. I’m proud to say that as of this evening, she was the only teacher in the school to receive all exemplary marks.
  • Storytelling over dinner with Anna, Jon and Morgan.
  • The joy that is the 2004 IKEA catalog.
  • …and I wonder where she will stay, my little runaway.
  • I called a couple of friends with whom I hadn’t spoken in far too long. It was good to catch up on things we hadn’t talked about. I am going to have to see to it that we don’t have so much time between our conversations.
  • : I’m sure that I’d (eventually) discover this if I muddled through it long enough… but, since I’m in an “instant gratification” mood: Using Mozilla’s mail program, do you ever receive messages in XHTML that only show the source code and not the “finished product?” And if you have found a way around it, please let me know what it is.

This post was brought to you by the letters “T” and “G” and the number “6”.


“…to pass the evening with a drink and a friend.”

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Waking up and getting up has never been easy…
“Waking Up” by Elastica.

Unfortunately, that was not the case this morning. The problem was the residual aching in my left hamstring and lower back. Although, I will admit that I did hug the covers for a bit longer than usual this morning.


Home. I spent the evening in the company of , the short-tressed and . We sat around, ate pizza and watched a couple of shows on the Discovery Health Channel: Buff Brides and a show about plastic surgery. Innnnteresting. I think that the MST3K factor helped make the shows more amusing.

Stray Toasters

  • Yet more…
  • I spoke with the mother-unit (yesterday) and the father-unit (today). They make me laugh sometimes. I have great ‘rents.
  • It’s amusing when your younger brother instant messages you and the first thing that he asks is when HALO 2 is coming out.
  • Utah drivers. *twitch*
  • One pizza. One order of breadsticks. FIVE cups of garlic dipping sauce.
  • Spectral tornado.
  • It seems as though the cats are getting better acclimated to the new furniture arrangements. AND… Xena, who usually hides at the sound of someone knocking on the door, was rather social with tonight. As Dr. Rosenblatt would have said: “It’s just so bizarre…

And now, off to The Dreaming.