Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“What’s so funny about Truth, Justice and the American Way?”

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Tuesday : 29 August 2006
It’s been a while. But, I’m back. I need to get back into the habit of posting more regularly. *nod*

Today wasn’t stellar: I was edgy/irritable for most of the day… for no discernable reason. It was a fairly busy day, too. But, I told folks that I wasn’t in a good mood and managed to keep my head down and nose to the grindstone, hopefully without being too abrasive to anyone.

Friday , gave me advance screening passes to see Hollywoodland. Passes that I had completely spaced off until I found them in a notebook last night. Go, me. The movie was about the mysterious circumstances behind the death of actor George Reeves, who played Clark Kent/Superman on the 1950s series The Adventures of Superman. Strong performances were given by Adrian Brody, Ben Affleck (yes, that one…), Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins. The cinematography and set design was also very good. My biggest complaint comes from parts of the script: There was an oddness to it in a few spots. Some of the characters would have lines that fit into their respective scenes perfectly… but came off as a little campy and elicited laughter from the audience. It’s not that the lines were necessarily intended to be “funny,” but because of the timing and the delivery, some of them came off that way. All-in-all, though, I give the movie a thumbs-up with an okay. At 126 minutes, it’s a long movie, but it doesn’t feel long.

Four-Color Coverage
The past couple of weeks have seen some good – and some stagnating – books come to the shelves. I want to hit the highlights… because… well, “because I can” is good enough for me. Let’s go:

  • Justice League of America #0 and #1: For the past “year,” the DCU has been without its premiere super-team. Why? Because they tore themselves apart from the inside. Starting with Identity Crisis and moving forward into Infinite Crisis, the JLA has been splintered, fractured and finally exploded or imploded, depending on your point of view. So, how do you recover from something like that? You take a cue from Kool Moe Dee…
    I draw plans draft the diagrams
    An architect in effect
    And it slams
    And if it’s weak when I’m done
    Renovate and build another one

    …and go to work. And that’s what Brad Metzler has done: Building a team from the ground up. Issue #0 is a prequel, of sorts. It blurs between the past and the possible future(s) of the League, culminating with Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman coming together to decide who’s getting a call to join the team. Issue #1 follows the voting process – yea, nay and abstention. But, the best thing about this issue isn’t the team-building exercise. It’s the “rebirth” of the Red Tornado. This story, like Green Arrow: Quiver and Green Lantern: Rebirth, is a quest for the ‘Tornado to return to the land of the living. From what I have gathered, it will be a major plot in the first arc of the new title.

  • Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #21: Colossal Boy catches a beatdown, Supergirl still thinks that she’s dreaming up this time-travel excursion and… Brainiac 5 is… attempting to resurrect Dream Girl. Yep. Just another day in the 31st Century. I do have to wonder if Waid and Kitson are leading up to the latest retelling of Brainiac 5’s nervous breakdown. Why’s that a problem? Consider this: In the original version, Brainy went nuts and created Computo, a super-computer that was capable of taking on – and taking down – nearly the entire LSH. Oh, and that’s the storyline where Triplicate Girl (1, 2) became Duo Damsel. Which, as you can imagine, didn’t do much to raise Brainy’s popularity with the team.
  • Astonishing X-Men #16: Kitty Pryde takes on the new incarnation of The Hellfire Club, that is. And that brings her toe-to-toe with turncoat teammate: Emma Frost. It’s a showdown that’s been brewing since Astonishing #1. And it shows a side of Kitty that hasn’t been seen in some time. There’s also a reveal on the third-to-last page that, to quote Kitty, makes you just go “YeahbuhWHAT?
  • Wonder Woman #2: The issue’ss title may be “Who is Wonder Woman? (Part Two)” but this is more of a “Who is Diana Prince?” story. We get a little bit of background into what the former princess has been up to over the course of the last year since she gave up being Wonder Woman. The current Wonder Woman is her sister, Donna Troy… and she\’s just gotten her ass handed to her by three members of Diana’s rogues gallery.
  • New Avengers #21: (“Civil War” tie-in) Jessica Drew. Spider-Woman. Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent of Hydra. New Avenger. Unregistered superhuman. Where does she fit in the war that’s tearing the superhuman community of the Marvel Universe apart? Everyone wants her. In custody. Dead. Alive. What does she want? Someplace to fit in. Where does she land? That’s the question… and the story.

Stray Toasters

  • My mother will be in town for part of the weekend. Maybe I’ll tempt Fate and introduce her to the Clitorati. Maybe.
  • BANG! (for )
  • By way of : Religious Super-Teams
  • anarchist reactionary running-dog revisionist
    hindu muslim catholic creation/evolutionist
    rational romantic mystic cynical idealist
    minimal expressionist post-modern neo-symbolist
    armchair rocket scientist graffiti existentialist
    deconstruction primitive performance photo-realist
    be-bop or a one-drop or a hip-hop lite-pop-metallist
    gold adult contemporary urban country capitalist
  • This picture amused me.
  • From The Age: Star Trek’s a thesis
  • For : Legionnaires Three – Projectra, Saturn Girl and Superboy
  • I’d really like a Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet right about now…
  • Since getting it back from , I’ve been listening to Piccadilly Collection by Squeeze quite a bit. They are/were a good band, it’s a shame that only Tempted and Hourglass got a decent amount of airplay here in the States.
  • Hey, (NOT to be confused with ): Power Rangers Eight-City Tour
  • *voop*
  • , I know that these aren’t Sea Monkeys, but they’re the next best thing: Magic Rocks!
  • It’s not James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub, but it’s apparently too hot at the gas pump, too.
  • Suffering Sappho! A look at the creator & creation of Wonder Woman
    (William Moulton Marston also created a precursor to the modern polygraph.)

That’s good for now.


“Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes, contestants in a suicidal race…”

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Wednesday : 23 August 2006
This morning, there was an accident on I-15 South.  It was caused by a driver who “…felt a semi truck had cut him off.”  So, what does this genius do?  He takes his PT Cruiser, drives in front of the truck… and slammed on his brakes.  You don’t have to be a physics major to figure out what happened next.  The truck jackknifed.  Across three-and-a-half lanes of I-15.  It snarled traffic for hours… during the rush hour commute.  I managed to get off the freeway and bypass the parking lot that was I-15 by taking the frontage road.  And then there were the rubberneckers who parked on top of a bridge that overlooked the accident, so that they could gawk at the accident.  The same bridge that people were using to get off of I-15 and around the accident.  Brilliant.

The rest of the day was good; the evening was quiet.

The Adventures of Indigo Bolt
I joined a team for the Nightstar archvillain mission.  I’ve run – and died on – that mission before.  I figured that it wouldn’t be too bad.  That was before I died four times (possibly five, I kind of lost count).  Needless to say, I wasn’t entirely happy with what that did to my experience debt total.  After the mission, I ran into a hero whom I haven’t seen in a while.  We talked for a bit before I headed to Icon to change the jacket on my dress uniform.  And, as I don’t think that I’ve mentioned it before: I decided on what to do about the fourth costume last week.  I went with an armored tech jacket and gloves, and changed the boots and pants a bit.

Stray Toasters


“He’s wise enough to win the world, but fool enough to lose it… “

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Monday : 21 August 2006
It’s been a decent day.  Nothing to really write home about.  Work was good.  I started on some testing for work; that went okay.  Nothing major, yet… but I really just scratched the tip of the iceberg so far.

Post-work brought D&D at ‘s house.  We found the group that we were supposed to investigate… and I strode boldly (read: “stupidly”) into their keep.  *shrug*  It seemed like a good idea to get some firsthand information.  Aftter all, my character is a wandering monk.  It seemed simple enough to just ask for a place to bed down for the night without raising too much suspicion.   I went in.  They closed the gate.  And that’s when the fighting started.  Oh, boy… I took down four guys before their friends showed up.  Wow.  They had A LOT of friends.  Nox said that there were about fifty of them.  Fortunately, they weren’t all that tough.  Mostly low-level bandits.  That wasn’t too bad.  What was bad: When the actual soldiers showed up.  And started forming a phalanx.  And decided that the best path was one that went through – or over – me.  *sigh*  We decided that discretion – and living to see another day – was the better part of valor and made plans to exit the keep.

Stray Toasters

Okay… that’s good for tonight.


“My uncle has a country place that no one knows about. He says it used to be a farm, before the Motor Law…”

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Sunday : 20 August 2006
It’s been a very lazy day.  The highlights include going to California Pizza Kitchen and seeing Barnyard with and the boys.  On the way to the theatre, Life Is a Highway (from the Cars soundtrack) came on the radio.  Troy, the older of the two, was singing along with the chorus.  After that, it became like his “carriage return;” he’d say something in conversation… and then break into the Life Is a Highway chorus.  Of course, it was more like “Up in my hallway… I want to drive it all night long,” which made it even more amusing.  Barnyard wasn’t quite what I was expecting – although I’m not entirely sure what I expected – but t was funny.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.


“He’s a cold-hearted snake…”

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Friday : 18 August 2006
Today was a good day.  Things were pretty quiet at work.  At lunch, I was going to have lunch with and her sons.  That turned into something of a comedy of errors.  I went to the Purple Turtle, where we were getting food.  That was fine.  We were going to a nearby park, to let the kids eat and then play.  That’s where things went “ka-ka,” to borrow a phrase from Quantum Leap.  I was in front of coming out of the restaurant’s parking lot; a couple of blocks down the street, I pulled over to let her get in front of me.  When I pulled back onto the street… I wound up following the wrong car.  Greeeeat.  I didn’t realize this, however, until the car pulled into a residential area and made a few turns.  I probably scared some old lady half to death.  *sigh*

Post-work, it was home for a bit and then off to an abbreviated Clitorati.  Then, it was on to see Snakes on a Plane with , and .  We even ran into Maddox at the theatre.  The movie was a riot.  Part comedy, part suspense flick, part action movie.  It was great.  How could it not be?!  After all, it had Samuel L. Jackson, snakes AND a plane.  The only things missing were a purple lightsaber and a wallet that said “Bad Motherfucker” on it.  That’ right: The movie rocked that hard.  Add to that the fact that brought little rubber snakes for us to throw during some of the attack scenes.  (We didn’t get kicked out of the theatre.  Added bonus!)  I give this movie a thumbs-up with a big okay.  I could easily see it become a cult classic, along the lines of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Stray Toasters
I was going to post a few things here, but I don’t have the links with me.


Late-morning dance break

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It’s been a while, but…

< groove>
112 – Dance With Me
< /groove>

Thoughts at the end of the day…

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Thursday : 17 August 2006
It’s been a good NBN Thursday. Fairly quiet at work. Except for the fact that I received eleventy-seven “Congratulations” from coworkers. Why? Because of an email from my VP’s admin. I’ve agreed to help with some testing… but, because of the way that the email was worded, people thought that I was leaving my current group and moving to a different job altogether. I spent a good bit of time explaining the error to people today.
This evening was rather quiet, spent watching episodes of CSI and Without a Trace. There was a little bit of world-saving thrown in, too.

Tomorrow, Clitorati will be… abbreviated. We’re going to see Snakes on a Plane.
Stray Toasters

  • Thanks to for pointing out MMO Art to me.
  • While I’m not usually a fan of busts, this is a good one of Zatanna.
  • For : Harley and Mr. J
  • , and : You might find something interesting for your columns here.
  • Fantastic Four 2 has been rechristened: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer… and it will feature the return of Dr. Doom. (Let’s just hope that Reed actually sounds like a prize-winning physicist this time.)
  • D&D fan films sought
  • “…and I’m so worried about the baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow.”

And that, as they say, is that.


“The Internet is for porn!”

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I have been chatting with for a few minutes. We haven’t talked with each other in a while, so… after we got past the “Hey, we haven’t talked in a while; what’s new” stuff, we moved on to other things… like “Have you seen this link?”. Because that’s the way we’re wired. *shrug* We don’t really question it. Go figure.

I showed him the link to Code Monkey: Stargate Atlantis and, from that, Jonathan Coulton’s site.
He showed me a link to The Internet Is for Porn!, a WoW machinima video.
(…and it’s work-safe!)

And now, I’m sharing the love.


“Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go….”

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Wednesday : 16 August 2006
I saw The Descent with tonight.  I’m not sure whether it would qualify as a “horror,” “terror” or “suspense” movie.  Or even “all of the above.”  Whatever it was, it was good.  Very good.  Neil Marshall did a good job of setting up a situation… and then drawing the audience into it.  I give it a big thumbs-up with an okay.

Stray Toasters
Not tonight.  I’ll get some stuff together for tomorrow.


“He’s got a forcefield and a flexible plan…”

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Tuesday : 15 August 2006
And another day comes to a close.

Stray Toasters

Yeah… that’s good for now.


You’re a mean code monkey, Mr. Grinch…

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Last night, I had trouble falling asleep.  Add to that the fact that it was very hard to purge Code Monkey from my head.
I don’t blame for this.
I attribute it to the fact that I’ve been watching the Code Monkey: Atlantis video a bit this weekend.

This morning, I woke up with the Rockapella version of You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch looping through my head.
I will blame this one on , however.
Just because I can.

“Code Monkey like Fritos… Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew…”

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Saturday : 12 August 2006
It’s been a curious weather day in the valley. Last night, the weather looked a little… ominous. This morning, it looked okay… with a few clouds. I didn’t worry too much about it, although when the clouds started to darken I did get a little concerned – my company’s summer party was being held today.

Around 3:30, the clouds decided to stop messing around and got a few things off their vaporous “chests.” At first, it was just rain. No biggie there. Then the hail started. From the way the hailstones hit the parking lot, it looked like the scenes from Armageddon where the meteors were striking cities on Earth. Then the big hailstones started falling. With a vengeance. It was enough to halt some traffic on the highway. I have to admit that I found it oddly amusing to see big, tough SUVs “cowering” under overpasses, though… We made it through the storm and traffic and headed southward.

The bulk of the bad weather (i.e.: pretty much ALL of it) missed Happy Valley… I mean “Utah County.” The weather for the party was great. It was held at Thanksgiving Point. I’d been there a couple of times before, but I had only been to the main building, The Old Red Barn and the movie theatre. Today, I was on the driving range (I think I drove more dirt and grass than golf balls) and went to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. The gardens were impressive. I also found myself wondering what it was costing to keep the grounds green and lush… not to mention the waterfalls there. The whole affair was nicely coordinated and a lot of fun.

Stray Toasters

I think that’s a wrap.


Code Monkey: Atlantis

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I was introduced to the music of Jonathan Coulton a couple of weeks ago. In his discography, I discovered a song called Code Monkey… and you know how I feel about monkeys.

This morning, I found a video that someone did for Code Monkey using video clips from Stargate: Atlantis. Yep, geekery on top of geekery.

The song and the video are work-safe. Enjoy.

“I read the news today, oh boy…”

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Thursday : 10 August 2006
It’s been a good day. Aside from slamming my thumb in the door this morning, that is. That wasn’t so good. Pretty far from it, in fact. But, other than that, it’s been a good day.

Random Access
We can do the innuendo
We can dance and sing
When its said and done we haven’t told you a thing
We all know that crap is king
Give us dirty laundry!

-“Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley

I realize that the foiled “liquid explosives” bombing plan is newsworthy, but I am tired of hearing about it.

No, that isn’t entirely true. What I am tired of is hearing the sensationalization and the speculation about it. Let’s face it: We don’t know what was going through these peoples’ heads… and we probably never will. So, rather than just stick to the (few) known facts behind the story, some news outlets have taken to throwing out whatever theory, idea or whim comes to the anchors’ and/or news directors’ minds.

Got to keep the ratings up!!!

This is exactly why I tend not to watch the news anymore: It’s not news, for the most part. Sure, you get some news. And weather. And sports. But, it seems as though an increasing percentage of newscasts aren’t filled with “news” as much as they are filled with human interest stories. Light and fuzzy and fluffy. Feel-good pablum to keep the masses fat and happy. And the ratings up, of course. Because who doesn’t want to hear about little Jimmy’s stamp collection? Isn’t that cute!? Sure, it’s cute. Newsworthy? Not so much. Boy Scout Troop 104 went out and cleaned up a couple of miles of highway? Gee, that’s great… but lots people do that everyday (or on the weekends) and I don’t see camera crews following them around.

News, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is:

1 a : a report of recent events b : previously unknown information news for you> c : something having a specified influence or effect news for lawns and gardens — Garrison Keillor> news>
2 a : material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast b : matter that is newsworthy

“Previously unknown information.” Not “speculation.” Not “sensationalization.” Information. Data. Facts. Wouldn’t it be nice if “the news” could get back to that?

Four-Color Coverage
The Wizard World Chicago Convention was held this past weekend. There are a lot of comic-related items that were premiered and previewed there, so Four-Color seemed like the most logical place to post those links. For those of you who don’t really care about this stuff, there are ‘Toasters below. That said…

The Adventures of Indigo Bolt
I neglected to post a couple of things the other night:

Rockin’ the suburbs on Talos Island

The guy in the center of this picture was called “Super Captain.” Who bore a strange resemblance to this guy. He was at least level 30, as he had a couple of other costumes (1, 2)… which bore incredible resemblances to this character and this character, in one of his other costumes. Is it really that difficult to come up with a new look – says the guy who’s still deciding on a fourth costume – without having to completely cop someone else’s idea? *shrug* I guess it is. And while I can’t really say that it was “instant karma” kicking him in the ass, he did die a lot on that mission.

Stray Toasters


“I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it…”

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Wednesday : 09 August 2006
I changed part of the program that I’ve been building at work. The fix was… pretty simple, but it works. For the most part. I’m still having a problem with a data insertion, but it’s nowhere near the amount of headache that the previous method was causing me. And that’s a good thing.

The Adventures of Indigo Bolt
Two-and-a-half bubbles.
Multiple deaths.
But in the end…

Say it with me: “Security Level 42.” Mm-hmm, that’s right.

I still haven’t decided on what to do for my fourth costume, but I saw a jacket that I like even better than the one I’m currently using for costume #3. I believe that it will be switched in fairly short order.

Stray Toasters