Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“We can be heroes… just for one day.”

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Thursday : 29 June 2006
Another NBN Thursday comes to a relatively uneventful close.  The workday was good and pretty much monkey-free.  I’ve been reading the SQL book that I picked up last week.  I discovered something in it that I didn’t find in the PHP & MySQL book that I had previously purchased: SQL supports “transactions.”  And from what I gather, so far, it handles them in the same way that ColdFusion did.  That’s something that I can work with.

The Shocking Adventures of Indigo Bolt
I joined a team for a mission tonight… and died twice.  Not because the team was inept.  Rather, it was because we were fighting one of the game’s Arch-villains.  I wasn’t the only one to be caught on the bad side of the Envoy of Shadow; everyone died.  At least once.  But, in the end, we beat it.  Of course, there’s still the little matter of 24,000 points worth of new experience debt to dealt with…

Stray Toasters

  • I talked with my uncle and got his travel itinerary for the weekend.  He’ll be in Sunday evening… and leaves Monday afternoon.  Not a long visit, but it’s a visit nonetheless.  And I’m thankful for that.
  • By way of comes: 100 Awesome Music Videos
    (: Frontier Psychiatrist is on the list.)

  • I should have started laundry an hour ago, not five minutes ago.
  • I was a little shocked to find this in the 19 June 2006 issue of Newsweek, but it intrigued me: Popular Comic Book Heroes Faith-by-Faith (You can click on the given hero’s religious affiliation to see how the researchers came to these conclusions.)
  • The above ‘Toaster reminded me of An American Pantheon

    In every culture there is in it’s past a collection of myths recounting the tales of a pantheon of gods, goddesses, heroes and monsters.

    Tales that stand both as answers to why things are as they are, and as personifications of the `essence´ of that nation, people, and culture.

    The Greek mythos, the Roman mythos, the Chinese mythos, and the detailed listing of angels and demons along with the legends of saints that made up the Christian mythos of the middle-ages are all examples where a culture generated a mythos that stood as the spirit where the people and land were the body and mind.

    But what about America? I don’t mean the rich and varied mythos of the Native Americans. I mean the United States of America.

    Where is the American mythos? Jung said that you need to get in touch with the myths and beliefs of the land where you are.

    That no matter what your religion or belief system (or lack of same) might be the place where you are has a power that can not be denied.

    That being the case, again where is the American mythos?

  • “Who watches the watchmen?”  I don’t know.  But I do know Who scams the scammers.
  • I have begun to think of as “Queen of the Flash Distractions”  (not that this is a bad thing, per se).  Today’s goodie: attractors_water.swf
  • Introducing the Baen Free Library
  • H to the izz-O
    V to the izz-A

  • Robin Williams.  As The Joker…?  Could be.
  • The Blade television series premiere is available.  For iPods.  For free.  I shall have to acquire this.

Time to switch the laundry over… and call it a night.


“Look! Up in the sky…”

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Wednesday : 28 June 2006
Let’s just cut to the chase: I saw Superman Returns this morning.

And I loved it.

Bryan Singer did a great job of bringing the Man of Steel back to the silver screen. He didn’t linger on backstory. You got a brief glimpse of Krypton before it exploded and then, “faster than a speeding bullet,” you were into the story. And, they set things up nicely for there to be sequels, should the movie prove successful. (I’m pretty sure that’s a lock.) There were also, in true Brian Singer style, nods to the history of Superman: Shots that came directly from the comic books, Noel Neill and Jack Larson (Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen from the 50s Adventures of Superman series) had cameos, and stylistic touches in the sets and background characters.

Brandon Routh did a good job of portraying both Clark Kent and Superman. He is not – nor did he try to be – Christopher Reeve, but he didn’t need to be. The actor did not overshadow the character. He breathed life into a Superman for a new generation… while remaining true to the spirit and essence of the Clark Kent that the late Mr. Reeve brought to the screen.

Kevin Spacey was an excellent choice for Lex Luthor. His performance wasn’t over-the-top. Instead, he was a… human… Lex Luthor. Greedy. Driven. But without being a ham. You knew why Luthor hated Superman. You knew why he wanted to carry out his plan. And you could see that he was determined to let nothing stand in his way to achieve that goal.

I liked Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. To me, you could see that she was conflicted in her feelings about the return of Superman into her life. She had made decisions about her life in his absence and moved on. She did a good job of bringing that emotion to the screen.

All in all, I think that this movie falls in line Superman: the Movie and Superman II very well. I give it a definite thumbs-up with an okay.

And I can’t wait to see it again.


“Great Caesar’s ghost…”

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I just got back from seeing Superman Returns… and for two hours and forty-three minutes, I was a seven-year-old kid again. A very happy seven-year-old.

And the thirty-five year old in me was rather happy with the movie, as well.

I’ll do a bigger write-up later, but I should probably get back to work.

“Where does the time go when you’re having fun?”

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Tuesday : 27 June 2006
It was a pretty quiet day for a Tuesday.

Tonight was Shadowrun night.  We were down a player tonight (two, if you count …), but the storyline moved on.  The team was sent on another courier mission.  A complete no-brainer.  Easy money.  Then, they got ambushed.  And it wasn’t a particularly good ambush either.  The other ‘runners had numbers on their side… but the players had experience (and good dice rolls) on their side.  It was lop-sided.  Now, they have to figure out what to do about (or to) the person who set them up.

Stray Toasters

  • I listened to a podcast of this past weekend’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me at work today.  Korva Coleman was filling in for Carl Kasell this week.  She was a riot.  I don’t think that I have ever laughed at Carl as much as I laughed at her.  She was witty, hip and had a great sense of timing.  If they ever need a permanent replacement for him, she should be the first person they ask.
  • For , and : Competitive online sudoku
  • You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!
    You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!

    Okay, they aren’t quite a Reese’s Cup, but:  Holy Grail meets Star Wars and CounterStrike DDR

  • Flash animation: Heaven  (Wow.)
  • sent me a link to Animator vs. Animation
  • Spider-Man 3 trailer
  • Pink armadillo.
  • Free Winkie
  • I’m not quite sure what to make of this:  I logged into City of Heroes…. and logged out a few minutes later.  Not because I died or couldn’t find a team… but because I was too tired to play.  Unglaublich!

Quote of the Day
I was talking with Maddox a little while ago and…

[00:12] : y0!
[00:12] Maddox: hey man
[00:12] : How’s the tour going?
[00:13] Maddox: crazy man
[00:13] Maddox: some guy proposed to his girlfriend at the signing tonight
[00:13] : Wow.
[00:13] Maddox: and I signed a baby.
[00:13] : That’s awesome.


“Respond.  Vibrate.  Feedback.  Resonate.”

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Monday : 26 June 2006
And another Monday comes to a close.

The work day wasn’t too bad.  Started out easily enough.  Wound up dealing with a really simple “problem” for one of the Rikti Monkeys.  I also got to preview/demo the program that I have been working on.  The overall response was quite positive.  That’s a good feeling.

Post-work brought D&D night at ‘ place.  Veni.  Vidi.  Pugni.  “We came. we saw.  We very nearly got our asses handed to us.”  Actually, we did… alright.  We had a good (read: “challenging and tough”) fight with an elven vampire at the end.  He saw the light.  Literally.

The Adventures of Indigo Bolt
Security Level 37.  Booyah!
Only a million (and change) points until Level 38.
And this is an enhancement – not a new power – level.  This might be a good time to consider a respec and change some powers.

Stray Toasters

Quotes of the Day
Today’s cavalcade o’ quotables comes from tonight’s game session:

Chris: “Brad, is my whetstone about this long (*gesture*) and this big (*gesture*) ?”
(Chris, about to shove his whetstone – no, really!!! – into the mouth of a succubus.)

: “My game was hijacked… by Michael Jackson.”
(After a Scourge HeroClix was placed on the table to represent the vampire elf we were about to fight.)

John: “What have you done with the children, Michael?!”
(We were sent to find/retrieve children who were abducted by the vampire’s minions.)

Me: “Bifurcated.  Nice!”
(You had to be there…)


“Days go by and still I think of you…”

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Saturday : 24 June 2006
It’s been a good couple of days.  Not too much to report.  I worked Thursday and part of the day Friday… and started my weekend a little early.  (Thanks to working on Sunday.)

The High-Flying Adventures of Indigo Bolt
Over the course of the past few days, I’ve been trying to reduce my XP debt.  On the whole, I guess that I could say that I’ve been “successful.”  But, at its peak, I managed to accrue over 102,000 points of debt.  Last night, I exemplared (lowered my level to work off debt faster) with .  We ran a couple of her missions in The Hollows.  Deep in The Hollows.  Since she doesn’t have flight, superspeed or teleportation, this meant a lot of running.  Slow running.  “Wake me when we get there” running.  But we made it without too many incidents.  I worked my way down to 36,000… and wound up dying.  Again.  And the debt jumped back up to 48,000.  Yay.  But, that’s a lot better than 102,000 in debt, so I really can’t complain too much.

Stray Toasters

  • In a little over a week, my uncle will be in town.  I’m looking forward to seeing him.
  • Bike-Aid is coming to SLC on Monday, 26 June 2006.  See this post in for details.
  • Sex in Zion: My job at an escort agency for Mormons. – A personal essay from Nerve.com
  • Project: MK Ultra
  •   (The last panel…)

  • I really doubt that it’s a surprise to anyone that I’m looking forward to Superman Returns.  It’s not like I’ve posted anything about seeing it in here before.  Here are a few links to some movie-related items:
    • Various clips/trailers
    • Matt, a coworker, sent me this link (Quicktime format) which shows how they “recreated” Marlon Brando for the movie.
    • Listen to the entire Superman Returns soundtrack here.
  • Wordplay

And that’s a wrap.


“Summer, summer, summertime… Time to sit back and unwind.”

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Wednesday : 21 June 2006
Summer is officially upon us.

The work day was good.  I stayed busy throughout the day, I had a couple of things that I worked on… concurrently, more or less, through the morning and early afternoon.  The pace of the rest of the day was a bit more slow.  And that was fine by me.

Post-work, I decided to fire up the grill and cook some burgers, brats and hot dogs.  I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with .  We wound up having late evening coffee with .  It was a nice way to end the day.

Stray Toasters

  • Color me officially jealous:  sent me pictures… from the world premiere of Superman Returns… which she saw tonight.
  • sent me a link to Burning Safari.  Interesting.  Odd, but cute.
  • I just don’t “get” the current fashion… whatever-it-is… of the sweater/jacket/top that I have come to refer to as the “boobie top.”  You all know what I’m talking about: A couple of sleeves, a patch of fabric and a couple of strings that tie the whole thing shut just below the breasts.  I mean… there’s not a whole lot to it/them… but you see women wearing them everywhere.  *shrug*  I just don’t see the appeal.
  • Comcast technician falls asleep on customer’s couch
  • Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival at Rocketboom
  • I doubt that anyone else has tried to make a connection between Dogma and The DaVinci Code… but I’m not going to let that stop me.  Can anyone tell me what concept ties the two movies together?  I don’t want to just blurt it out, for those people who haven’t seen DaVinci yet.   But there is a common item/theme between them.  Given that, I don’t understand why no one seemed to get up-in-arms about Dogma.

That’s it for now… I’m ghost.


“I got a song that ain’t got no melody, I’m gonna sing it to my friends.”

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Tuesday : 20 June 2006
Work.  Blah blah blah.  Today I discovered how to read – and output – files in/through PHP.  Hoo-AH!

This evening, I went to Sam Weller’s Zion Bookstore for the release party/book signing of The Alphabet of Manliness (currently #2 on The New York Times Best Sellers list) by Maddox, , , Beth, Jer and Scott were there, as well.  The “crowd” was… sparse a few minutes before things got started, but by the time things were all said and done, there were about 70 people there. 

Maddox entered the room in a t-shirt, shorts, tennis shoes… and a crown and cape.  He started off by introducing himself to the audience, read a few passages and did a Q&A session before the book signing began.  He was quite personable (not surprising to me) and answered (most of) the audience’s questions with a smile and an amusing story.  One audience member even brought him a bag of beef jerky… which he later gave to another audience member.  Soon, the Q&A was done and it was on to the signing.  (Translation: “Stand in line and wait.  Quietly.  Over there.”)  The line slowly made its way through the store and before too long, we were getting our books signed.  He made me laugh when he “misspelled” my name as he signed  my copy of his book.

Hopefully, when his book tour is done, we’ll finally be able to figure out when we can get together for dinner.

Stray Toasters

  • I am tired.  The bed calls… and I am shortly heading there.  (Written last night; I was so tired, I neglected to hit the “Post entry” button.)
  • There is an article on Slashdot titled: The Rise and Fall of COBRA.  While I know that it’s not what they meant, my first thoughts went to the terrorist organization whose collective asses G.I. Joe had to snap their collective feet off in.
  •   Billy Preston’s memory honored in California
  • From the “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” file: Pentagon memo says gayness is a mental disorder
  • Craig McCracken, creator of The Powerpuff Girls, has created BLOGregard Q. Kazoo, “The official blog of the Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends production crew.”
  • Contortionists! (I make no statements about how worksafe this site is, overall.  Click at your own discretion/risk.)
  • I like coffee.  That’s a pretty well-known fact.  But, I’ll be damned if I’m going to drink coffee made from beans that have been shat out of cat.  And especially not for $75 per quarter-pound!

Duty calls.


It must be “Wednesday…”

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I’m not in a “bad mood,” per se… but I can tell that my bullshit and monkey threshold is low today.

The biggest sign of this was that I searched my Magnetic Poetry until I could come up with: “I see the problem: You think that I give a damn.”

“Mystic rhythms… Capture my thoughts, carry them away…”

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Monday : 19 June 2006
People have asked me how my day was today.  My response has been: “Not bad for a Tuesday.”  Needless to say, that got me a few odd looks.  Okay, not really any more odd than usual, but you get the gist.

I worked yesterday.  That’s right: On.  Sunday.  For 10½ hours.  I went in to do some work in our server room.  It was supposed to be a quick in-and-out job, a few hours tops.  In theory.  The practical application, however, turned out to be far worse.  Jason and I fought the not-so-much-flying-as-ambling spaghetti monster that forms our connection all day, from 9 AM – 7:30 PM. 

It was wonderful.

The racks tried to eat our hands.  Seriously.  Our hands look like we’d been in a pretty rough fist fight.  That was solved, or at least ameliorated, at lunchtime when we picked up a couple of pairs of work gloves.  Hallelujah!  We finished up with things looking a lot better than when we had started.  And, we even managed to make it (relatively) easier to deal with the wiring in the future.

Today, I got a new challenge/question for something to add to the PHP project that I’ve been working on.  I’m looking forward to seeing if I can make it fly.  I also tried something out that I didn’t really consider until this weekend:  Using a function to handle a repeated MySQL query.  I call that specific query about fifty-leven times, so I decided to make it a function and just call it whenever it was needed.  The cool thing is: By using this function, I can trim about 150 lines of code from my program… and that’s pretty damned slick, in my book.

Tonight, I went with and the boys to see the Salt Lake Bees (good team, st00pid name) take on the Las Vegas 51s.  It was a good game.  For the first time since I’ve been going to BuzzStingers… Bees games, they won.

<< Rewind <<
We also saw Cars this weekend.  “Ka-Chow!”  It was a fun movie.  There was a bit of drag (as in “time standing still”, not “racing”) in the middle of the movie, but I don’t think that it detracted from the movie, overall.  Note:  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stay for the credits.  And, : Bird on a wire.  *nod*

Stray Toasters


Random Out-of-context Amusement

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“Here… let me give you my digits and then we can go and knock boots.”

Cracked me the Hell up.

“We see what we want to see…”

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Thursday : 15 June 2006
It was a good NBN Thursday.  The monkeys were quiet today; that was a good thing.

Today’s workout was something of an adventure:  Eric and I left the office, went to his car and took off for the gym.  We checked in and headed to the locker room.  That’s when I noticed that I had grabbed the wrong bag.  I had another bag of clothes in the trunk… and that was what I picked up, without thinking about it.  *braincramp*  I borrowed Eric’s car and went back to the office.  Got the right bag and went back to the gym.  If both of the bags had been the same color, that would have been one thing.  But, no… that wasn’t the case.  My gym bag is solid black; the bag I took at first was white with a BIG red-and-blue Tommy Hilfiger logo on it.  It’s not like anyone who was paying even nominal attention would not have noticed the difference.  *sigh*

Post-work, I had dinner with and her boys.  After that, it was CSI and Without a Trace; I had seen the CSI episode before (but had not) and neither of us had seen the WaT episode.

The Daring Adventures of Indigo Bolt
I took a trip to Paragon City to beat on some bad guys (and to rid myself of some debt).  One of the first things that I saw, near the train station, was the Ghost Ship.  I was asked to join a team for a Level 42 mission and I agreed.  Oy.  That was not one of my better decisions.  It was a decent team, but the mission kicked our collective recta.  MANY times.  I think I died five times on it.  And, the final bonus was a bit of a ripoff.  I wound up with more debt after the mission than when I started.  Not zesty.

Stray Toasters


Starting an NBN Thursday with a smile…

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A few quick hits:

  • From a conversation with about a convo I had with another coworker:

    (10:09:49 AM) : *breaks more heads*
    (10:10:07 AM) : Coworker D: You know what’s worse than ‘not enough data?’
    (10:10:11 AM) : Me: Too much data.
    (10:10:44 AM) : heh
    (10:10:48 AM) : Coworker D: *nod* Too much data. Almost as bad as finding a needle in a haystack. Know what’s worse than that?
    (10:10:59 AM) : Me: Finding a used needle in the haystack?
    (10:11:11 AM) : Coworker D: *blink*
    (10:11:29 AM) : Me: Of course, that depends on how you find it.
    (10:11:32 AM) : Coworker D: *blink*
    (10:12:20 AM) : nice.
    (10:12:31 AM) : *bow*

  • sent me a link to this article. The last line makes it all worthwhile.

And… for those of you in the SLC Metro area: Check out the KSL Family Fair and Chalk Art Festival on Friday (4-9PM) and Saturday (7AM – 4PM). will be doing an entry with her team, Chalk-o-licious. Go show ’em some love.

The morning after…

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Wednesday : 14 June 2006
Sweet zombie monkeys…
No, make that sweet zombie Rikti monkeys (image)… I was tired last night. Tired enough to fall asleep at my desk at least twice.

<< Rewind <&lt
Yesterday was. I had to deal with many monkey-related “issues.” I say “issues,” in quotes, because only a couple of them were really worthwhile. Oh, well.

Last night’s game went well. The team took the red pill, rather than the blue one. Last night’s run was a simple courier job: Deliver Item A to Person B for Person C and then get paid. Cake. What could be more easy? Except for the fact that Person B and Person C are members of opposing families in an ongoing arc. (Can you say “tense,” boys and girls?) The team pulled off the job without getting killed… and without killing anyone. For the most part.

The High-Flying Adventures of Indigo Bolt
I got together with gwendalion and went hunting in Crey’s Folly. Nemesis and Rikti hunting. As a Public Service Announcement to any and all heroes-in-training: Don’t take on Level 39 or Level 44 foes when you’re Level 36 or 37. The bad guys will break you off a little something. Actually, they’ll break you off a LOT of something. I died twice; gwen died at least once.

> Play >
So far, the day has been good. Let’s hope that it stays that way.

Stray Toasters

  • Yesterday, on the way to work, I passed a truck for a company called Probe Electric. Below the company’s name was it’s motto: “Let us probe your shorts.” It made me chuckle.
  • I forgot to post a link to something that sent me the other day Little Giant Girl (worksafe)
  • After dealing with a couple of work issues yesterday, I decided to create a new iTunes playlist called “Angry Black Man’s Music”… and stick it on my work iTunes share… and wait for the monkeys’ heads to go all ‘splodey. I mentioned it to Tommy (coworker) and he suggested changing the name to “Break One Off…” That amused me. I came back to my desk, created the list and added it to my music share. I’m waiting for someone to find and listen to it… and for heads to go ‘splodey. Especially when they hit some of the tracks by DMX, Public Enemy, Ludacris, Snoop and (a personal favorite) “Ezekiel 25:17” from Pulp Fiction.

That’s it for now…


“A working class hero is something to be…”

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Monday : 12 June 2006
All-around good day.

Work was good.  This was enhanced by the fact that I reworked my SQL database… and had it looked over by a coworker who’s a bit more knowledgeable than me.  He said that with one (minor) change/deletion, it should be just fine.  That puts me another step closer to being done with my program.  And that’s not a bad thing.  I lost at lunchtime Magic.  By one point.  But, it was a decent loss.  I didn’t take an in-play enchantment into account and thus lost.  Oh, well.  I wasn’t the first one to go.  That made the pain of losing easier to bear.  Especially since I set the first-to-go up to be taken out fairly easily.

Post-work was D&D game.  We ventured into an old pyramid… and it was game on.  No one in the party died.  But, living up to my “human pincushion” sobriquet, I gave it the old college try.

The High-Flying Adventures of Indigo Bolt
When I got home, I decided to take a quick spin around Paragon City.  Paveman, someone I’d teamed with before, was helping Mystic Psyche with a couple of missions and invited me to join them.  First up: Take on – and take out – 35 Rikti.  That was relatively easy.  From there, it was a mission deep in the heart of Crey’s Folly.  Fools rush in…  We fought Crey in search of some data.  Two words: “Paragon Protectors.”  I am NOT fond of them, mostly because they are tenacious buggers and just don’t seem to know when to die.  We survived both missions with no casualties.

Stray Toasters

  • I should be FAR more tired than I am.
  • Team Zoom Suit offers free PDF of Issue #1
  • Harry Potter 5 is filming in Italy.  , I don’t know how close you and Sib1 are to Genoa and/or Savona, but if it’s nearby, you might have an interesting reason to get in some traveling.
  • From Slate: Pulp Covers for Classic Books
  • Horror Film Compendium (This site is maintained by one of my coworkers.)
  • I have achieved a new level of geekiness: I have stored pictures on my iPod.  And not just “any” pictures.  Screen captures from the City games.  Even worse: A few of them were the rocking out pics that I have taken, some of them only seconds apart.  I discovered that if you scroll the click wheel just right, you can make the pics look like Mr. Bolt is rocking out on my iPod… or, in the case of Mr. Dhoruba, look like he’s actually on fire.
  • Well, that’s just bull!
  • : Jazwares’ Trigun Action Figures
  • By way of Comic Book Resources: Legendary Artist Tim Hildebrandt Has Passed Away
  • Is it a bad thing that I want to see the Miami Vice movie, starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell?
  • When Fangirls Attack
  • By way of : Italian Lawyers Asked to Prove Jesus Existed