Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Tuesday Morning Tunes

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     Rush – Limelight
     Jimi Hendrix – Fire
     emmet swimming – Never Crawl
     Duran Duran – A View to a Kill
     Jim Croce – Don’t Mess Around with Jim
     Kool & the Gang – Get Down on It
     The Time – Skillet

This musical bliss was followed by a figurative small fire that I had to put out. *sigh* No rest for the wicked…

How’s your Tuesday shaping up?

“Pleased to meet you. Won’t you guess my name?”

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Monday : 30 January 2006
Neither “Manic” nor a “Rainy Day,” so I’ll give the day a passing grade.

The work portion of the day went without incident.

The non-work portion of the day was quiet and restful. For the most part.

I decided to buckle down and do my taxes. And I did. Thanks to TurboTax, I was done in something between fifteen and twenty minutes. Then came the aggravation. I decided to e-file my returns. That’s when TurboTax informed me that it would cost me $29.90 to e-file and an additional $24.95 for – get this – the “refund processing fee.”

It was at this point that I informed TurboTax that it could go and do a biologically-impossible rudeness to itself. Many times over. (Oddly enough, it didn’t reply to that imperative.) I clicked back a few pages and printed my returns. I don’t mind kicking out 78¢ to mail the return, but $54.95 to e-file? In the words of LL Cool J: “No man, I don’t think so.”

After that, I headed out to get a bite to eat and to visit . I introduced her to the world of 24; she seemed to enjoy it.

And now, it’s snowing. Again.

Stray Toasters

  • I spoke with my father for a bit tonight. All’s well with that side of the family, it seems.
  • Blue skies and gentle landings to .
  • sent me a link to this, which is pretty neat.
  • From the “Having a Bad Day” file: Museum visitor trips, breaks Chinese vases
  • Introducing “AirTroductions”
  • “Press any key to continue.”
  • Do you use Winamp? You’ll want to look at this article about a critical flaw.
  • Moonstone Comics and the 70th Anniversary of The Phantom
  • The first panel of this is for . May God have mercy on my soul.
  • From SciFi Wire: Potter V Casting Revealed
  • The art of Laurenn McCubbin
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith was a fun movie. But why was a version of it picked up as a pilot for television series?!
  • The Strong Bad email on Technology made me laugh.

    Quote of the Day
    Today’s gem comes from a conversation I had with :

    [16:38] : Hola.
    [16:39] : Is it a “bad” thing that I was sitting here, about to tell a friend about a possible Hallowe’en costume, and had the thought: “I did tell you that I work in Mormonopolis, didn’t I?”
    [16:41] : No. Not at all. You are in the depths of Mormonopolis.
    [16:41] : Oh, okay. Good.
    [16:42] : You’re so far behind the Zion Curtain that it’s like you’re way back in the kitchen and you can’t even see the front room from there, let alone the curtain.

    And with that…


Monday Afternoon Groove Break

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     Boyz II Men – Motownphilly

…which was followed, much later, by…
Was (not Was) – Walk the Dinosaur

“Take the last train to Clarksville and I’ll meet you at the station…”

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Sunday : 29 January 2006
<< Rewind <<
Yesterday saw the beginning of the assault on the HALO Command Center. Somewhere, in the process of cleaning the rest of the house, I lost ground in the HCC. Sun Tzu would have been very disappointed in me. came over to help with the retaking of the room. We spent a few hours on it… and it became a living space once again.

Mother Nature decided to grace us with snow during the early afternoon.

We headed to Thanksgiving Point to see the train show. Wow. I haven’t been to something like this since I was a kid. I mean a little kid and when my father would take me to the Christmas display that the Pikesville Fire Department would have in one of their stations. Very cool. This show reminded me of that… and more. It was like being a kid – a little kid, that is – all over again. HO-scale. S-scale. N-scale. O-scale. And, LEGO scale (yes, I said “LEGO scale”). Trains and train-related paraphernalia all over. It was Nirvana, Valhalla and the Elysium Fields… all rolled into one. Being a Chessie System (the gestalt of the Chesapeake & Ohio, Baltimore & Ohio and Western Maryland Railroads) fan, I looked for cars or locomotives from that line. They’re a little hard to come by out here in the land of the Union Pacific Railroad. Go figure. I found a few things, but decided against getting anything. As I said, there was also a LEGO railroad set up, by the burgeoning Great Basin Lego Train Club, run by Reed Cowan. Right now, it’s a club of one, but he’s hoping to drum up support for it. He had a really cool setup of three interconnected lines. All of the pieces there were Reed’s; he said that he’s been collecting – and, in some cases, customizing – them for fifteen years. I talked with him for a few minutes about setting up LEGO trains… and what it took to run a line with more than one powered unit on it… and… and… and… Well, you get the idea. I roamed for a little while longer before we were ready to go. I acquired a couple of N-scale boxcars whose sides advertised “Baltimore Circus.” I was set to leave with just these, but picked up an HO-scale Chessie locomotive for me, before we left. w00t!

Back to Salt Lake, including a detour to Dr. Volt’s before heading home.

I patrolled the streets of Paragon City, getting ever-closer to Security Level 29, before heading to breakfast. I teamed up with Don and a few other people and took on some of Paragon’s less savory citizens… and former citizens. It was a good night.

Breakfast had a small turn-out, but was good. When we walked in the door, Melody came up to me and said: “I have something for you,” and led me back to the office. It turns out that my new nametag had come in. (What? Were you expecting this story to go somewhere else? Sorry.) I now have a tag that reads “Rob” and a brand-spankin’ new one that says “Rob – Crew Trainer.” Go, me! We hung out until the point at which my eyelids felt as if someone had secretly replaced my eyelashes with lead filaments. Home. Bed.

> Play >
I woke up around 10:30 this morning. Pretty impressive, considering that I wasn’t getting up to watch a football game. I got up and puttered around for a bit. and her boys came over to help me with the excavation of the HCC’s closet. Yep, “excavation.” I haven’t seen parts of the floor in there since we moved into the house. I did my best impression of John Henry racing the steam drill and burrowed into the once-before closet. Four hours later, we had not only reclaimed the space and organized it… but I had eliminated a LOT of “Wow, why wasn’t this thrown away LONG ago” waste. Boxes of it, in fact. *nod* The day was quite productive.

The High-Flying Adventures of Indigo Bolt

I spent a few more hours in Paragon City today. I ran a couple of solo missions. I earned a few experience points. However, I proved that the “I’m not a Tanker (I’m a Blaster), but I’ll wade into the middle of this group of bad guys anyway” attitude can be hazardous to your health. I died a couple of times and racked up about 10,000 points of debt. I also discovered something: I have a power called “Voltaic Sentinel,” which creates a “pet” of ball lightning for me. It will attack enemies on its own or, if no enemies are near, it will simply hover (heh… “hover”) by my side. I’ve noticed that I mentally refer to this… “pet”… as “Sparky.” That realization made me laugh. “Sparky” and I took on ghosts, The Cabal, Fir Bolg and Tuatha de Danaan.

A little later, a couple of old teammates – and super group mates – logged and and joined me on a team. We added a couple of other heroes and took on a few missions in Croatoa and Independence Port. New team. New missions. Same “Come get you some” attitude. We took on more ghosts, Fir Bolg and Tuatha. I also made it to Security Level 29. Only 180-something thousand points to go before Level 30… and my next costume.

Stray Toasters

  • I spoke with my mother for a bit today. All’s well. She will not, however, be coming out here in March. It turns out that the conference that she was considering attending is scheduled at the same time as the All-County or All-State (I forget which) Competition, in which her chorus competes. On the “plus” side… God willing and the creek don’t rise, it looks as though my uncle will be visiting next weekend for the Super Bowl.
  • Welcome to the Year of the Dog, according to the Chinese calendar. I was born under this sign; what Chinese zodiac sign are you?
  • …which leads us to:
  • Maddox sent me a link to 3D-Painted Rooms . Pretty cool looking.
  • Mental Note: Cleaning is not supposed to be “fun.”
  • Fear of Girls – a D&D “documentary”
  • Toy Story 3 has been scrapped. (Does that mean that Woody and Buzz wound up on the Island of Misfit Toys?)
  • I discovered today that the game that I’ve been trying to find is not spelled “Clockworks,” it’s “Clockwerx.” Spelling it correctly made it much easier to search for.
  • “Trust not the living and walk slowly behind the dead.”
    This is a quote that my father brought back with him from Vietnam. It’s one that’s been rattling around in my head for a couple of weeks, after my uncle mentioned it over my Christmas vacation.

  • Poll time!

  • “Aren’t you a little short to be a stormtrooper?”
    (The commentary, once again, made me chuckle.)

  • Stormtrooper in Yokohama
  • Crabfu Steam – live steam creations (Think: “Steampunk toys.”)
  • This weekend’s broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion came from Purdue University.
  • Wonder Woman #225 – a review from Broken Frontier
    This was one of the books I picked up yesterday. It was a good story.

  • “It’s cute that you think you’re making a point. Really, it is.”
  • : Batman 1:18 Die-Cast Batmobile Collection
  • : From Newsarama – Journey into Comics: In Defense of Lex Luthor
  • Special Edition Superman DVDs on the Way (Finally!)
  • “I gotta go do this, but I’ll talk to you after our set, okay?”
    “Okay! Have a good ass! Uh… show.”

I was planning on being in bed almost an hour ago.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men…”



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Saturday : 28 January 06
It’s late.
I’m tapped.
I’m going to bed.

Recap later.


“Escape to realms beyond the night… Dream, can’t you show me the light?”

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Friday : 27 January 2006
As a special bonus for the end of the week: It snowed today.

The work day was good and pretty productive. That’s always a good thing.

After work, I met for coffee. (Well, chai and a smoothie, but that’s not the point). I came home, found my friend, Don, online and convinced him that he needed to meet me in Paragon City. He did, we joined a team and whaled the tar out of some of Independence Port’s “less than upstanding” citizens. I picked up roughly 35,000 experience points in about forty minutes… only 130,000 more until Security Level 29. And then, it’s on to Level 30 and my new costume.

Clitorati was good, with a decent turnout. There were many bizarre conversation threads (duh!), including a few that wound up breaking people. While at coffee, I had a potential Hallowe’en costume idea. There are some details to be hashed out, but the concept makes me laugh. Hysterically. Details will follow soon.

I just tried to log into City of Heroes. There’s a connection problem to the game servers. Which means that I can’t play tonight. *sigh*

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
Tonight’s quote comes from Brett, coworker and Clitorati initiate, as to why he voted for The Shrub in 2004:

“You don’t change horsemen in the middle of the Apolcalypse.”

It made me – and everyone at the table – laugh.


Friday Morning Kickstart

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     No Doubt – New
     Extreme – Get the Funk Out
     Jonni Lightfoot – The Foot
     Kool Moe Dee – I Go to Work
     The Brian Setzer Orchestra – Let’s Live It Up

And this is how I started my morning.

Have a great one.

“In brightest day, in blackest night…”

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Thursday : 26 January 06
For no “good” reason to which I can attest, the thought: “Hmm. Nine months to my birthday,” has been weaving its way through my head all day. I’m not expecting this birthday to be any more auspicious than any others, so I’m really not sure what this means.

It was a good work day. I had a good – and tiring – workout at lunch. Then, I enjoyed an hour-long conference call. Whee!

After work, I finished The DaVinci Code. It ended well… but not at all like I expected. I’ve heard good things about Dan Brown’s other books – I will have to check them out. I am also looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation this may. I watched back-to-back episodes of CSI. The first one was a repeat, the second one was new; both of them were good. I cooked dinner while the second CSI was on. Rummaging through the cabinets, I saw that we had semi-sweet chocolate chips. I knew that we had plenty of coffee, so I decided to try my hand at making Chocolate Jolt. I used one of the IKEA ice trays (shaped like arrows) for eight pieces and a regular ice tray for the rest. I sampled a small bit (I do want to get to sleep tonight) and it was pretty good; the blog/recipe’s author noted that it tasted like Oreo crumbs dipped in chocolate – he was correct.

The High-Flying Adventures of Indigo Bolt
I decided to visit Paragon City and see what was going on there. It was fairly quiet. I started to take on a mission in Croatoa, but decided to leave it for another time. I patrolled parts of Independence Port and Talos Island, as well. Lusca, the giant octopus, put in an appearance in Indy – near Justice Quay – but I knew better than to try to take her on without some help.

Stray Toasters


“Signal transmitted. Message received.”

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Wednesday : 25 January 2006
Three down, two to go.

Today at work was less-than-as-productive-as-I-would-have-liked. I’ve been at loggerheads with a couple of recalcitrant systems. Damned willful children! I’ll either suss out their issues or drop-kick them. Personally, I’m hoping to work out whatever is wrong, because drop-kicking them would hurt. A lot. And I’m allergic to pain. Other than that, I had a decent day. I even managed to continue taunting/tormenting a coworker with goatse-and-comic-related imagery.

After work, I came home and relaxed for a bit. While I ate dinner, I watched “Divided We Fall,” the next-to-last episode of JLU Season Two. *jawdrop* I was – and still am – duly impressed. Brainiac-Luthor. The Flash and the Speed Force. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl finally owning up to the angst between them. A Superman who actually seemed… “super.” And Batman being… um… Batman, as usual. (I saw the last episode of the season a couple of months ago. Go figure.) I’m really looking forward to seeing the Season Three episodes, starting next month.

and I watched Enemy of the State tonight. It was interesting to watch this post-9/11/2001. I found it… curious… to note how the plot parallels a lot of things happening in the U.S. today. (On a personal note: This was the first movie that I went to see after I moved to Utah. I had just moved into my own apartment and needed to be out… and the Century 16 Theatre was just around the corner. So, I went. And had a good time – it was just just what the doctor ordered to get my mind off of my then-current problems.)

Stray Toasters

And, that’s a wrap.


“When the dragons grow to mighty to slay with pen or sword…”

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Tuesday : 24 January 2006
“Stupid Gaim 2.0 and stupid Trillian3.x (Free edition)”

And that’s pretty much the worst thing I have to say about work today. Other than that, it was a great day. I had a good lunchtime workout. There weren’t any fires to deal with. I didn’t have to monkey-punch anyone. And, best of all: I made a goatse (work-safe link) reference – with respect to the cover of Infinite Crisis #4 – to a coworker. I’m not sure that I broke him, but I think that I came pretty close.

Tonight, instead of Shadowrun, we played D&D. I wasn’t ready to run my game and we had to postpone last night’s game due to the festivities, so put us through the paces. Our characters learned some new info, visited a new town, met some locals and kicked some ass. In that order. And I didn’t become the human pincushion. That’s always a plus.

Stray Toasters

  • I indulged myself with a small eBay purchase today – Three REV sets of Heroclix figures: Cyclops, Colossus and Superman. By the time that I got home, I had a notification that the package had already entered into the mailstream. I am going to give this seller some serious positive feedback.
  • Dug. *chuckle*
  • Geeks in Toyland – How LEGO upgraded Mindstorms
  • : I found a post on Chocolate Jolt by way of boingboing.net. It might be a way to tide you over in those times when Trader Joe’s espresso beans are scarce.
  • It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long (.wmv format)
  • Monk + double backhand bitchslap = Awww yeah.
  • Hey, , given that you were playing around with Pinewood Derby cars recently, I think that you’ll appreciate this: Pinewood Derby car with webcam
  • Latin… and a pun? How could I pass this up?
  • Gabe and Tycho, from Penny Arcade, speak at MIT .
  • You Don’t Know Jack About Firefox!
  • : Firefly companion book due
  • “What happens when you kill a zombie?”

  • Ding! Fries are done!
  • I’m a comics and animation fan, but I don’t “get” fanboys (or fangirls, either, for that matter). Warner Brothers is coming out with a new direct-to-DVD Superman: The Animated Series movie later this year. They got Tim Daly to reprise his role as Clark Kent/Superman. But, there seems to be a schism in the masses because WB isn’t using George Newbern, who is the voice of Superman on Justice League Unlimited. *blink blink* Um… am I missing something? Get over it and enjoy the movie!

And with that… good night.


Top of the Morning Music

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     The Wiseguys – Start the Commotion
     Mansun & 808 State – Skin Up Pin Up
     David Bowie – Jump They Say
     Living Colour – Cult of Personality
     Prince and the New Power Generation – Push

Not a bad way to kick off a Tuesday morning.

How did your day start?

“We get it backwards… and our seven years go by like one.”

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Monday : 23 January 2006
Today was an all-around good day.

Work wasn’t bad. I watched/listened to a couple of episodes of JLU while working – that helped the time go a little faster. There weren’t any fires to put out nor did I have the overwhelming urge to pummel anyone into oblivion. Days like this are definitely “good” days.

This evening, it was off to ‘ place to help celebrate his 21st birthday. There was a nice turnout of people to help him celebrate another year of staving off The Lord of Dream’s older sister. Music played. Various forms of alcohol flowed. Games were played. It was a nice way to spend the evening. At one point, and I stepped out to pick up some food. While out, we were passed by at least six (6) Salt Lake County Sheriff’s deputies… all heading west… all driving like bats out of Hell. I’ll have to remember to check tomorrow’s news to see if there are any reports on what happened.

Stray Toasters

  • I’ve been dealing with… a less-than-entirely-happy stomach since late afternoon. Hopefully Tums, a hot shower and a good night’s sleep will appease it.
  • corrected me when I said that was “tragically white.” She opined that he was merely “incurably Bachman.”
  • Thanks to for pointing me in the direction of this.
  • Do you have PSOne or a PS2?
    Do you like Dance Dance Revolution?
    Are you… a little less than graceful?
    Then fingertip-sized dance mats for PlayStations might be for you!

  • I’m not sure if I should toss this to either or … but I’m going to anyway.
  • Do you remember the urban legends about people who actually thought that the CD tray in their computer was a cup holder? Well, um… this might just be their vindication.

That’s it, I’m calling it a night.


Monday morning jump-start

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     Yoko Kanno & Seatbelts – Tank!
     Rush – One Little Victory
     Led Zeppelin – Rock and Roll
     Billy Idol – Shock to the System
     Yaz – Situation (Remix)

…and that’s how I started my morning.

“Time keeps on slippin’… into the future…”

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Sunday : 22 January 2006
Saturday morning, I was going to take the car in for an oil change. However, the friendly folks at Saturn decided that wasn’t going to happen. *braincramp* So, I did some cleaning. And laundry. Can’t forget the laundry.

Later in the evening, I went to dinner with and her boys; it was her youngest’s fourth birthday. After dinner, we watched Remember the Titans. Good movie, I hadn’t watched it in a long time. We were going to follow it up with either Do the Right Thing, Enemy of the State or Purple Rain, but I was tired (I started nodding off near the end of Titans), so we decided to forego the double-feature for another time. I was tired enough to even skip Saturday night breakfast. (Sorry to leave you hanging, .)

I woke up with the mother of all headaches this morning. I wish that I had been drinking last night, then I would have understood “why” I had it. Some panacea in painkiller form and two hours of sleep later, I felt nominally demi-human again. I got the car’s oil changed and did some more cleaning around the house.

While cleaning, I watched the Steelers-Broncos AFC Championship game. I was expecting a little more of a game. Pittsburgh brought out the legendary Steel Curtain and kept the Broncos from finding the end zone in the first half; Denver had to settle for a lone field goal – compared to Pitt’s twenty-four points – going into halftime. And it didn’t get any better for the boys from the Mile High City. Pittsburgh took it away 34-17. After that game, I kept an eye on the Panthers-Seahawks game. Whoo-boy… to call that “a game” is a gross overstatement. It was a beatdown, pure and simple. The ‘cats couldn’t buy a break. Miscues, bad/broken plays and a dominant Seahawks team were just too much for them. The Seahawks won 34-14. So…

Super Bowl XL
Seattle vs. Pittsburgh
Sunday, 05 February 2006

…and as much as it pains me to say this: I’m hoping for the Steelers to win.

To round the evening out, I had dinner with before picking up from the airport.

Stray Toasters

  • Having cleaned most of the house, my next task is to do the same to the HCC. I’m thinking that napalm may have to be used…
  • From last week’s four-color shwag, I was really impressed with Infinite Crisis #4, Legion of Super-Heroes #13 and All-Star Superman #2. I think that the best part of All-Star Superman was Lois’ absolute refusal to believe that Superman is really Clark Kent… especially after years of trying – and failing – to prove the connection. Classic.
  • The Secretary of Defense himself, Deacon Jones, did the opening bumper for the Steelers-Broncos game. It was pretty damned cool.
  • *placeholder*
  • How do you pronounce the following words:
    • February
    • Library
    • Often
  • I have almonds.
  • From Newsarama: When Superboys Collide
  • Note: Ceiling fans should not go long periods of time without being cleaned. Two words: “Dust buffalo.” That’s all I’m sayin’.
  • : Seared meats on the grill. *nod*

Tomorrow, it’s back to the work-a-day grind, so I think I’ll call it a night now.


“Who needs sleep? (Well, you’re never gonna get it!)”

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Friday : 20 January 2006
I don’t know what caused it, but I spent a portion of the morning being more… giddy/bubbly… than usual. I noticed it fairly early in the morning. *shrug* It wasn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, but it was a little “odd.” Other than that, the day was a good one. And it was a good way to kick off the weekend.

Tonight’s Clitorati was small, but fun. It was also Daniel’s (one of the bookstore’s staff members) last night at that store; he’s transferring to the downtown SLC location. I don’t think that we permanently broke anyone – in or out of the group – tonight.

Stray Toasters
None tonight. Check tomorrow.

I’m tired. I’ve already nodded off a couple of times. I am going to take that to mean that it’s time to call it a night.