Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“We move… five meter spread, no sound.”

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Friday – 30 March 2007
Four down and roughly five hours to go.

I have frozen mocha goodness, it’s Friday and we’re about to have a team-building, no… make that “team-fragging”… exercise.  HALO/HALO 2.  Selah.  Yeah, that’s the making for a good end-of-the-week.

Stray Toasters
I was about to list a few here… but it looks like we’re about to go shoot people.  So Toasters, just like Heaven, can wait.

By way of the Lady Nyx…

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Thursday Morning Amusement… or something like it.

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The geek factor is on “High” today:

  1. I set up a new Linux machine to play with… I mean… um.. “for testing.”  Yeah, that’s what it is.  “Testing.”  As it was going through the install, it asked for a name for the computer.  I drew a blank.  My Windows test machine is named “Valkyrie,” so I figured that I would choose something that would work well, thematically, with it.  Still drew a blank.

    Then a name popped into my head:  “Serra.”

    As in Angel.
    As in Magic: the Gathering.

    I winced, just a little, as I entered the name into the dialog box.

  2. I’ve had a recurring image/scene go through my head for the past few days.  It’s a little disturbing, but it also makes me chuckle when I think about it.

    In it, there I see Leonidas, king of the Spartans from 300, standing on the shores of Thermopylae.  Before him, Xerxes and the combined armies of the Persian Empire stand ready to attack.

    As the image widens out, there are no loincloth and cape-wearing Spartans, standing behind him.

    Instead, there are 300 Master Chiefs, from HALO.

    For those of you who don’t get the reference, the Master Chief is a cyborg.  More specifically, he’s a Spartan-II Super Soldier.

    Having seen what just one Master Chief did to the Covenant, I’m Ivory Soap sure that 300 of them could easily handle the Persian army.

“Silly rabbit…”

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Wednesday – 28 March 2007
Two-and-a-half down…
Two-and-a-half to go.
The back half of yesterday’s work day was decent. Post-work, I stopped off for coffee and drawing time; the new drawing is coming along… slowly, but there is progress being made.    called and asked if I had any plans for dinner; I didn’t. She suggested Macaroni Grill. How could I refuse? I mean, after all, it’s a restaurant where you can draw on the tables! I was in. Dinner was good and I had enough leftovers to constitute a decent lunch. Unfortunately, they are still in my refrigerator. *facepalm* Oh, well… if nothing else, I can have them for a tasty dinner tonight. Finished off the last two episodes of The West Wing‘s first season, last night, too. I need to find Season 2. And 3. And… well, you get the idea. But, I don’t really want to kick out $300 for the seven-season box set.

This morning, I woke to snow. Yay. Fortunately, it wasn’t cold enough for it to stick to the roads… but that didn’t stop the road monkeys from driving as though it was a natural disaster.  (Packed like lemmings into shiny, metal boxes…)  At one point, there was a lady driving down I-15 with a LOT of traffic stacked up behind her: because she was going about 50 down the center lane. The road was wet. Barely. And she was doing 50. And white-knuckling the steering wheel. I simply listened to Carnival (*shakes fist at ) and then to the first half of Hold Your Fire and cruised into the office.

The work day hasn’t been bad. So far. I’ve had a couple of brushfires to deal with, but n-n-n-nothing too serious. (Lookit that: I snuck in an Icehouse reference. Go me. I rock.) And, I should be able to ease on down the road around 4:30, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day

[13:14] Sarah: have you seen the new Trix?
[13:14] ShadorunrWORK: Nuh-uh.
[13:14] Sarah: they are…. wait for it
[13:14] Sarah: NEW SHAPE:  ROUND
[13:14] Sarah: …
[13:14] ShadorunrWORK: Wait…
[13:14] Sarah: uh huh
[13:14] ShadorunrWORK: Weren’t Trix round when we were kids?
[13:14] Sarah: yup
[13:14] ShadorunrWORK: >.< [13:14] ShadorunrWORK: So "new hotness" Trix is really "old busted" Trix? [13:15] Sarah: and then they went all weird and made them "fruit shaped"... a lot like runts... and now...WOW!  ROUND!  UGH!

“That’s the thing about birthdays and Quik (and, apparently, lunch hours…), they go by so fast.”


“Mistress of the dark unconscious, Mermaid of the lunar sea…”

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Tuesday – 27 March 2007
One down, one in the chamber and three to go.

So far, the day’s been decent.  The road monkeys weren’t unbearable this morning, as they swung from branch to branch… I mean “lane to lane.”  For the most part, traffic flowed nicely.  I have coffee.  And there was apparently an IT task that was assigned that neither I nor our office director knew nothing about.  Greeeat.  Fortunately, it’s not a huge deal, but when I asked him about it, he had the same deer in headlights look that I had when I was originally asked about it; that made me feel a little better.  Oh, well.

Last night, we were supposed to shoehorn in a D&D session.  But, we didn’t.  So, I watched a few episodes of Justice League – including one from the second season that I had somehow neglected to watch! – and played some online poker…. until it was time for 24.  While not as amusing as 24: ATHF, it was still good.  Then, some online poker.  I also watched The Guardian – it wasn’t a horrible movie.  Near its end, I half-expected Whitney Houston to show up and sing I Will Always Love You.  Of course, when I first heard about the movie, I had the not-so-serious urge to photoshop her into a copy of the movie poster and retitle it The BodyGuardian.  Go figure.
Stray Toasters

  • I have a slice of frosted carrot cake.
  • I like Gwen Stefani’s new song, The Sweet Escape.  It’s bouncy and catchy.
  • Ever have one of “those” days?  I get the feeling he has.  In fact, I’d say that he’s having one now…

    (click image for preview of Green Lantern #18)
  • loves me.  How do I know?  Because she sent me a link (no pun intended) to this.
  • Super Mario Brothers… done with LEGO bricks and figures.
  • …and while on the subject: LEGO Batman Videogame in 2008
  • Square Peg.  *sigh*
  • The Pursuit of Happyness (not misspelled, thank you) is out on DVD today.  If you haven’t seen this movie, now is your chance to do so.  It’s a great story.
  • Create a mascot for a Woot sports team
  • This sounds suspiciously like a certain (non-IT) job I had not too long ago…
  • It’s more than “a little” geeky, but I like this doormat.

Quote of the Day

[09:00] : eh!
[09:00] Scott: sup
[09:01] : Thought that this might amuse you:
[09:01] : ‘The Transformers’ appear on the internet’s worst website
[09:01] Scott: eh?
[09:01] : http://www.comics2film.com/
[09:01] : second item in “The Latest News”
[09:02] Scott: hahahahahahah oh god.
[09:02] Scott: Do we get Optimus Prime’s blog?
[09:03] : bwahahahaha
[09:04] : “Dear Diary:  Today, I got my oil changed.    There was a very cute Nissan Xterra there.  Red.  With racing stripes.   She was hawt!”


“It’s the suburb of the week…”

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I just found a link to the video for emmet swimming’s Arlington.

Not bad for a Monday lunchtime.


“…or am I just one more late, great dinosaur?”

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Sunday – 25 March 2007
Another weekend comes to a close. It’s been a good weekend, quiet and low-key. I had given some rather serious thought to a road trip (of sorts) this weekend, but opted to wait a while.

Saturday started with the Legion, found me in Park City in the afternoon and ended with episodes of The West Wing and late-night breakfast. One of the episodes was “Six Meetings Before Breakfast.” The title triggered a memory waaay back in the deep, dark recesses of my mind… but I couldn’t figure out why until I looked at the chapter listing: It was the episode in which Allison Janney’s character, C.J., did a lip-synch of The Jackal. For some reason, I didn’t think that happened until Season 2 or 3; I was quite pleased to find out that I was wrong. Quite pleased, indeed.
Today was rather mellow, as well. I started off with a trip to Paragon City with Nefer-Tem. I joined a team and put on… a level and a half, possibly a little more than that. After that, I hung out with at Borders and did some drawing. Actually, today was more “doodling” than anything, but I finally figured out how I want my next lyrics-to-drawing piece to look. I did the rough sketch for it and I’m pretty jazzed about working out the details.

After Borders, we decided to catch a movie: Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. There were also a number of other fairly well-known faces/names in the movie, including Donald Sutherland and Robert Klein. I’m not a huge fan of Adam Sandler; I’ve found him to be intermittently funny, but his name in movie credits isn’t an automatic draw for me. In this role, however, I think that he did an amazing job. Don Cheadle, as usual, put in an excellent performance, as well. This wasn’t necessarily an “easy” movie to watch, but it was well worth seeing. The movie started out with a song by Graham Nash, Simple Man; I don’t think that I had heard it before tonight, but I like it.  And, as one might infer from the movie’s title, the movie featured a couple of versions of The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me, a favorite of mine.  I highly recommend the movie.

Stray Toasters


“My, my, this here Anakin guy…”

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While looking around the YouTube, I found the video for The Saga Begins.

And now, I share it with you.


Of Norsefire, The Party and the Solar Federation…

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Thursday – 22 March 2007
Four down, one to go.

Today was a rather decent day. It started with frozen mocha goodness and a trip to the SLC office. Neither of which is a bad way to start the day. Then, it was on to the south office. The day was relatively problem-free; and it was slow enough to allow for two constitutionals. The lunchtime workout was good, too – a focused triceps workout.

Post-work, I skipped picking up my four-color shwag and got home a little before six. I was in a Barbacoa mood, so I had a steak burrito for dinner and watched V for Vendetta. (March Madness = CSI: ) Good movie and a nice way to wrap up the day.

Random Access
We’ve taken care of everything
The words you read
The songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure
To your eye

One for all and all for one
Work together
Common sons
Never need to wonder
How or why

Whenever I watch V for Vendetta (1, 2, 3, 4), I am struck not only by its similarities to George Orwell’s 1984, but also to the Rush concept piece/rock opera, 2112. The three of them are set in dystopian societies where the government provides all of the necessities and good things in life. And they would never mislead their citizenry. And everyone works for the betterment of god and country.

In the three stories, we are introduced to “the outsider,” the one who sees between the cracks of the grand facade and recognizes that all is not well. In two of the stories, he is also the one who wishes to bring change and freedom to his blissfully ignorant brethren: V and the “narrator” in 2112. In 1984, Winston Smith is not necessarily out to overthrow The Party and/or Big Brother, or even enlighten his fellow citizens, as much as he enjoys subverting the system by partaking in restricted/forbidden pleasures.

The stories differ in their resolutions and in how their protagonists end up:

  • In V for Vendetta, V sacrifices himself, knowing that he has shown people the way to free themselves. We are shown that V represented ideas or ideals – greater than any one person – and it didn’t matter who was behind the mask: V was everyone… and no one, at the same time. He represented the unspoken – and in some cases, unimagined – hopes, dreams and ideals of the faceless masses and the forgotten.
  • In 2112, the narrator, realizes that he alone cannot fight the power of the Priests and the Solar Federation. In desperation/despair, he commits suicide. Ironically, just after this act… the “Elder Race,” the enlightened, legendary forebears of the Solar Federation who left (Earth) return, with the proclamation: “We have assumed control…”
  • In 1984, Winston Smith is captured by Party loyalists and reprogrammed to follow convention and embrace the love of The Party and Big Brother.

I also find it… oddly amusing that I wound up watching the “Vote Different” parody of Apple’s 1984 Mac ad earlier and then watching V for Vendetta tonight.
Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day

It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.

Valerie Page, V for Vendetta


Pre-lunch video entertainment

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A couple of videos that caught my eye this morning:


Pencils. Paper. Go.

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Wednesday (coda)
The post-work day has been good.  I came home and then went to Borders to hang out with and .

And, I drew.  Taking a page from Nyx’ book, so to speak, I picked a song lyric and went to town.  The lyric that came to mind was Elton John’s Rocket Man.  I had a slightly different concept in mind when I started, but for a first attempt – as well as starting and finishing in one sitting – I’m happy with it.  You can see it here (large file size, 329K).

Stray Toasters


“Place faith in your convictions as the boundaries start to blur…”

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Wednesday – 21 March 2007
Middle of the week and all is.

Last night, joined us for Shadowrun; she played one of the player group’s NPCs. The group, at the behest of their fixer, tracked down the team of runners who caused a good deal of strife for the fixer. That led to gunplay, spellslinging… and a clumsy troll. The players were outnumbered, 6 to 4… which made it roughly even odds. Unfortunately (depending on your point of view), the troll – who wasn’t the brainest member of the opposing group – had the brainstorm that throwing a table at the players was a good idea. This is where “theory vs. practical application” came into play. The theory was sound: Trolls are strong, tables are heavy… and there was a good chance that he could damage more than one player with the move. The practical application went something like this, however:

  • Troll sees table.
  • Troll picks up table.
  • Troll throws table.
  • *dice roll*
  • The dice roll says that the troll not only failed to hit, but that hit completely botched the throw.
  • *dice roll*
  • The table found a new target: one of the troll’s teammates. It effectively decapitated him… and hit with enough force to carry the body to the far side of the room.

Why is it that the pretty ones are never very smart? Wait… he was a troll; he was neither smart nor pretty. *sigh*
I don’t know if Nyx will be a regular or intermittent member of the game – or if she’ll decide that it’s not her thing – but it was fun having her play.

Stray Toasters

  • I’ve listened to Far Cry, the new release from the upcoming Rush CD Snakes and Arrows, a few times. I like it. But, then again, I’m biased.
  • One of our senior managers was standing at a cube wall a little while ago, with his fingers and the top of his head sticking over the wall – it looked like the quintessential “Kilroy Was Here” picture. So, I said called him Kilroy. He asked if I knew the origin of it. I told him that all I knew was that it was used in World War II. He then proceeded to tell me how it came to be used: When Allied forces would recon houses and other buildings – clearing traps and clearing out civilians – they would draw that on the wall as a sign to later squads that the houses have been gone though. I did a little more digging and found a little more information about its history on Wikipedia.
  • Yahoo! Movies has a trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
  • Forget the film, watch the titles.
  • Jigsaw puzzles with missing pieces.
  • I live with it everyday…
  • Draw Supergirl.
  • I love it when someone asks you a question (“Where is [item a]? I just looked in [location x] and didn’t see any.”)
    …and you answer them (“There aren’t any in there.”)
    …and their immediate follow-up is a question (“Are they [shelf y] or [shelf z]?”)
    …that you had just rendered moot by saying “There aren’t any in there,” which I told him again.His reaction: “Oh.” *quizzical stare*
    Welcome to Wednesday.
  • Technopathy.
  • If you find the courage within you
    To face the path ahead
    It matters not the outcome
    If what you will gain instead
    Is a heart deepened in the knowing
    That experience carves the soul
    And the very thing that empties you
    Shall surely make you whole
  • In talking with this weekend, he mentioned a fun “project” that he and Nyx did a couple of years ago: They would take a random lyric and draw a picture based on it. If I remember correctly, that’s where her Rocket Mouse picture series started. Doing something like that sounds fun.
  • “How very Mary Tyler Moore of you.”
  • Tigger socks land girl in detention, school in court

Time to finish eating and get back to the grind.


“We can rise and fall like empires, flow in and out like the tide…”

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Tuesday – 20 March 2007
Another day in the valleys.

Speaking of valleys, does anyone else remember Valley of the Dinosaurs? It was a Hanna-Barbera ‘toon from the 70s; Boomerang airs – or it used to air – episodes on Saturdays and Sundays. I liked it. But, I digress…

Last night was D&D night. But, we didn’t play. Instead, there was Lunch Money and Guitar Hero 2. I did “okay” at lunch money; I still equate my GH2 (lack of) skill to the first time I tried DDR: It was bad. Fun… but bad. After that, I went home and tried my hand at PokerStars, no pun intended. I didn’t do too badly. And, before bed, I read more of Specter of the Past.

We’ll be heading to the gym in a few minutes. Picking up and putting down heavy things. Mm-hmm, that’s right.

Stray Toasters

  • I can only think of this as a “career-limiting move.”
  • Houses cheaper than cars in Detroit.
  • Grape juice. I have some. You do not.
  • Do not injustice to another
    Defend the weak and innocent
    Let truth and honor always guide you
    Let courage find the light within

    Stand up when no one else is willing
    Act not in hatred or in spite
    Be to this world as a perfect knight
    Even if it means your life

  • Code Monkey (because it’s been a while since I’ve linked to it)
  • I was going to ask: “Why are you wearing an NWA t-shirt?”
  • Tony Bedard on Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #31
  • Don’t you worry about sleeping on the vent so often?”



“Monday, Monday….”

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Monday – 19 March 2007
A new week begins.  And it began with caffeination.  Large.  Triple-shot.  Selah.

All-in-all, the weekend was good.  Lazy, but good.  Saturday, I spent the early part of the day doing… a lot of nothing.  Went to lunch.  Went to Best Buy and reveled in consumerism.  Maybe “reveled in” is a bit of an overstatement, but I bought a few things that I’ve had my eye on:

After a quick stop at Hoppers for a couple of growlers of Madame X Stout – to help celebrate Green Lantern Day – it was off to ‘ for a World of Darkness game.  That’s right… I got to dust off an old character sheet.  And, as an added bonus, wound up playing her character from that same setting.  And hilarity (and mayhem) ensued.Yesterday, I wound up heading to Borders and doing a little drawing.  And I mean “a little.”  Only did two:  One with my wood mannequin and Stikfas figure; another with a Rocket Red HeroClix.  was there and Mr. and Mrs. put in an appearance as well.  Then came the shopping for groceries.  And then, hometime; I watched Superman Returns.  I like that movie… and its adaptation of the original John Williams score.  I’m probably in the minority, but I like Can You Read My Mind as the “love song/poem/thingamabob;”  I know that there are some fans of the first movie who absolutely abhor it.  *shrug*  Oh, well.
Tonight, there are D&D goings-on.  Hopefully, we won’t have our collective recta handed to us on silver-plated trays… but the possibility exists.

Stray Toasters

  • I found this to be amusing… and somewhat true:
  • found a link to a video for one of my favorite Dire Straits songs: Romeo & Juliet.  Good song, I’m a little torn, though, about whether I prefer the Dire Straits version or the Indigo Girls version of the song.
  • There is no love untouched by hate.
    No unity without discord.
    There is no courage without fear.
    There is no peace without a war.
    There is no wisdom without regret.
    No admiration without scorn.
    There is strife within the tempest.
    There is calm in the eye of the storm.
  • Here’s a combination that can lead to no good: We are Stewie…
  • Extreme Magic Makeover
  • Remote Desktop is my friend.
  • List of U.S. Army acronyms and expressions



Games + Image Processing Software + Too much free time (not “thyme”) = ???

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Sunday – 18 March 2007
This had the potential to be a serious post.

The potential.

Instead, it’s going to be an “I found some of these to be amusing” post. Deal with it. You’re big kids.

MMORPG Motivational Posters

And… because it amuses me:

It looks like a nice day out. Time to go play.