Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…”

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"Oh, the weather outside is frightful..."

Thursday – 01 May 2008
The first day of May. (Granted, it’s just after midnight, but still…)
May Day.
And it’s snowing. Not much, but it’s snowing. On May Day. Snow. Unglaublich.

Today is also Bret’s birthday:

I want a snack.


No, no, no… Change that. And that. And this, too.

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No, no, no... Change that.  And that.  And this, too.

Thanks to for helping me wrangle my stray PHP code into workable – and usable – shape!

By the great, leaking God of Handbags…!

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By the great, leaking God of Handbags...!

Today has been decent, so far.

I decided to take a slightly different tack on my PHP program. I’m seeing some progress, but I am still getting hung up on trying to pass one – kind of important – variable to a form. I may wind up posting to a few forums and see if anyone can point out where I’m stuck on stupid.

Speaking of forums, I decided to do a little digging and look up a nagging question about the Power Cosmic team ability and Outwit, namely: “Can Outwit negate Power Cosmic?” And it seems as though it cannot. Which means that Galactus should have been a lot more of a force to reckon with than we were playing last night. (When I called Chris with the new information, I could almost picture the wince.) Good to know for next time.

I got an instant message from someone in our California office… saying that their Internet connection was down. An instant message. (Their intranet still worked.) But, I don’t know what she expected me to do from almost 1000 miles away, other than pass the message along to someone else. Which is what I did. I really need to work on that “wiggle your nose and magically fix problems” power.

Stray Toasters


“Um… uh… so, yeah… er…. HEY! Look at the time!”

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"Um... uh... so, yeah... er.... HEY! Look at the time!"

Wednesday – 30 April 2008
“That explains the Crisco and the jelly beans… but HOW does the feather duster come into play?!”

“I feel the Earth move under my feet.”

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"I feel the Earth move under my feet."

Tuesday: Coda
Chris came over around 7:00. We talked comics and other geekery. We headed out for a bit to eat. And then we came back and played ‘Clix.

Galactus versus a slew of X-Men.

The game started off a little slowly… but I did pretty well. Took out five of Chris’ team in fairly short order. Then the numbers started to wear me down. And they did. According to the scenario, they didn’t kill Galactus, they just made him think that other planets looked more appetizing.

We tried again.

Chris reminded me that I hadn’t been using a particular ability during the first game, so I tried to keep that in mind. The dice rolls weren’t nearly as favorable to me as they were in the first game, however. And, I neglected to deal with the characters whose abilities were negating a couple of my abilities.

But, as SaraRules put it: It was good practice for the next time I decide to use Galactus.

Things I learned from tonight’s gaming:

  1. Multi-attack. Use it.
  2. Determine which opponents have Outwit. Deal with them. Quickly.
  3. Use Cosmic Engines. (We didn’t use them this game.)
  4. Find errata on whether the Ultimate Nullifier is optional. (We didn’t use this either.)
  5. Heralds. Get some. Use them. Galactus is powerful, but alone, he’s a target. A very big target.

All-in-all, it was fun. I look forward to using the figure again.

Now, it may be time for a little ice cream before hitting the rack.


“It’s the end of the world as we know it…”

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"It's the end of the world as we know it..."

Tuesday – 29 April 2008
Happy Hatching Day to :

…and to :

I woke up from an odd dream this morning and realized a couple of things:

  • My corner of The Dreaming is comprised of unusual architecture: I know where I’m “supposed” to be (city or state), but the trappings of the location seldom match more than a small part of the its Waking World counterpart.
  • The people who populate my corner of The Dreaming are comprised mostly of people I know… with smatterings of strangers I know only by user icon or an occasional picture.

One of this morning’s dreams is a prime example of that: I was jogging in Baltimore. I “know” that it was Baltimore because it was “supposed” to be Baltimore. (I am pretty sure that it’s a good thing that my career as a City Planner is limited to SimCity.) Along the way, I ran into … and a dog that was with her that (I think) was supposed to be Bella.


With one notable exception, it was a good work day. The notable exception being the “customer service” (and I’m using that term in its most broad sense) monkey I had to deal with for a hardware return. His voice reminded me of Ira Glass, from This American Life…

…if Ira Glass talked about 4x faster
…and never let people get a word in edgewise.
…and was an insufferable know-it-all.

Suffice if to say that by the time the call was over, I was ready to reach through the phone and throttle someone.

Chris is heading over in a bit to play dolls. The character card for Galactus was printed on the rules sheet for the figure. So, rather than the usual 4″x2½” card, I have a 5″x11½” sheet of paper. Correction: “Had.” I scanned the card and made a few modifications:

from this to this

Much easier to put on the table for easy game-time reference, I might add. I even printed it on card stock (thanks to Ms. OnlyAly) so it doesn’t try to shrivel up and die if someone looks at it crosswise. We’ll see how well the game goes and if I can possibly snap my losing streak to Chris.

I should get back to straightening up and getting ready…


Tell us how you really feel…

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Tell us how you really feel...

Monday – 28 April 2008

Pronunciation: \in-ˈdəlj\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): in·dulged; in·dulg·ing
Etymology: Latin indulgēre to be complaisant
Date: circa 1623
transitive verb
: to give free rein to b: to take unrestrained pleasure in : gratify
: to yield to the desire of : humor <please indulge me for a moment> b: to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or considerationintransitive verb: to indulge oneself

That’s exactly what I did this morning: Indulged myself with staying in bed. Forty-five whole extra minutes. Alarm? Yep, it was set. And it went off. A few times.

Didn’t matter.
Didn’t care.

This morning was about enjoying the last vestiges of the first full good night’s sleep that I’ve had in almost a week. And it was totally worth it. As an added bonus, I got to spend a little more time with SaraRules. Can’t beat that at twice the price, either. Sure, it meant a later start to the commute. And a later end to the work day, but like I said:

Didn’t matter.
Didn’t care.

Coming back to a workout after a week off is not fun. Today was no exception. We pretty much did (most of) last Monday’s routine:

  • Bench Press (barbell): 3 sets/8 reps – 2.5 sets @225 lbs, half-set @ 185 lbs
  • Curls (barbell): 3 sets/10 reps – 2 sets @ 70 lbs, 1 set @ 50 lbs
  • Flys (Nautilus): 3 sets/15 reps, 95 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell, Hammer grip): 3 sets, 10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Dips: 2 sets, 20 reps & 15 reps

Post-workout weight: 170.2 lbs.
(If nothing else, not having an appetite for four days helped get rid of a few pounds…)

Home. Everything seems to be in one piece. That’s a good sign.

Stray Toasters

And now, to see if I can figure out what sounds good for dinner…


It’s like a Sunday or something…

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It's like a Sunday or something...

Sunday – 27 April 2008
All-in-all, it’s been a quiet day.  Not a bad way to spend a day…

  • I slept in this morning.
  • Talked with my mom and uncle.
  • SaraRules and I went on an excursion to St. George.

When we got back, SaraRules did homework and… I forgot that her complex hates City.  Instead, I read a couple of Gotham Central trade paperbacks:

(click the titles for more information)

I have to thank Markin’ Time for his suggestion to pick these up.  I’ll have to pick up the rest of the series… even though, thanks to a couple of other DC series, I know what happens to a couple of the characters.

Stray Toasters


*** FLOOR ***

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*** FLOOR ***

“I hear archangels rockin’ in Jerusalem, I hear archangels ringin’ dem bells…”

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"I hear archangels rockin' in Jerusalem, I hear archangels ringin' dem bells..."

We got back a little while ago from seeing the Utah Valley Handbell Choir perform; a friend of SaraRules is a member, so that was added incentive to go.  The performed ten pieces:

  1. Allegro Glorioso, by Catherine McMichael
  2. Grazioso, Arnold Sherman
  3. Staccato Giocoso, Cathy Mokelbust
  4. Psalm Nine, Carl Wiltse
  5. Pirates of the Carribean, Hans Zimmer
  6. Takeda Rhapsody, T. Kanzaki
  7. Hava Nagila, Traditional Israeli
  8. Colonel Bogey March, F.J. Ricketts
  9. Fantasy on “Lasst Uns Erfreuen”, Traditional German (arr. by Glen Hicks)
  10. Hymn to Joy, Ludvig van Beethoven

The performance reminded of drum corps productions, in the timing and the similar tonalities.  It was also a little amusing to find that I remembered all of the words to Hava Nagila, which I haven’t really sung in over 30 years.

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day

SaraRules: “I love you more than garlic.”


“He’s cleaning up his systems to keep his nature pure…”

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"He's cleaning up his systems to keep his nature pure..."

Saturday – 26 April 2008
It’s always that last 10-15% that gets you.  Thursday and Friday, I felt phenomenally better than I did Wednesday.  But, still not completely better.  Today, I would actually say that I’m in the 95-97% of normal range.

There’s still this… one… thing: Gas.

Seriously.  I’m thinking of changing my name to Exxon.  I don’t know how or why – it’s not like I’ve eaten a whole lot in the past three days, but here it is.  Yay.

I miss having an appetite.

Aside from that, I’m doing well.  I made it to southern Utah without any problems or monkeydom.  I always consider that a “good” thing.  Yesterday/last night was pretty low-key.  Today, I think we’re heading to the Braithwaite to check out the Senior BFA Portfolio Show.  Other than that, no idea what’s on tap for the day.

Stray Toasters


Friday morning free-for-all

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Friday morning free-for-all

Friday – 25 April 2008
Last night was very low-key. After work, I paid a visit to my four-color crack dealer. There were a few books – and one figure, Scarab Assassin – in my hold… so I treated myself to a box of plastic crack. I pulled a couple of decent figures:

Not a bad take, I have to say. In fact, it was better than a couple of the books. Especially Countdown to Final Crisis: 01. If you’re going to wrap up a year-long, weekly series… you’ve got to bring your “A” game. The only – ONLY – thing that could pull this out of the fire (and NOT make if feel like a complete waste of time/money) would be if they pull out all the stops and answer a LOT of questions next week in DC Universe 0. If. Big “if.” Right now, I’m not sure how likely that is to happen… but I can hope, can’t I?

Stray Toasters

That’s it for now…


The Toughest Woman in Comics

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The Toughest Woman in Comics

Checking out the ‘tubes, I stumbled across this item.

(click the image for the article)

And I can’t say that I disagree.

“Go to Hell”

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"Go to Hell"

By way of Tom C. comes this bit of musical goodness: Go to Hell. Check it out:

One camera. One take.


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Thursday – 24 April 2008
I dislike being sick.

This isn’t to say that I know anyone who enjoys being sick, but I am just asserting that as a preface to the following:

I started feeling a little “off” yesterday around lunchtime. While it wasn’t doing somersaults, my stomach felt a bit queasy. I finally decided to go to lunch around 1:00. Since I was working in the north office, I figured that I’d just go home, take a nap have something light to eat and then head back to the office.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men…” as the saying goes.

I got home and had a difficult time falling asleep. It felt as though as soon as I did, the alarm went off. BAH! I was also feeling a bit cold. I figured that a hot soak would help. It did. Kind of. But I still wasn’t feeling top-of-the-line when I got out, so I crawled back into bed.

Three-and-a-half hours later, I felt a little better. Not great, but enough to function to head back to the office long enough to gather my personal belongings and head back home. Which I did. On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things that would be considered “bland food.”

I got home, put away the food and took up a position on the couch. I watched S.W.A.T. and most of Law & Order before it felt like I needed to spend a little “quality time” in the sanfac. (Bonus points to those who know where ‘sanfac’ comes from.) The chills that I had felt earlier began to give way to sweats. Yay! When I felt up to it, I decided to have another hot soak session. That seemed to help a bit. After finding something comfy – and warm – to put on, I put on some soup, grabbed a Gatorade and resumed my post upon the couch. I watched a bit of David Letterman and Jonny Quest. I don’t remember seeing the end of Jonny Quest

…I don’t really remember much of anything until The Snorks came on. I checked the clock. 6:00 AM. Hm. Okay. I ignored The Snorks – and pretty much everything else – until the alarm went off at 6:35. I headed for the bedroom, turned off the alarm and sprawled across the bed. I fell asleep again. When I finally woke up, I noticed something: I was feeling much closer to baseline “human” than I did last night. I started milling around the apartment. There was a definite improvement in the way I was feeling. A definite fringe benefit of my metabolism (“ferret on crack,” as puts it) is that I don’t tend to get really sick very often; and when I do get sick, I don’t tend to stay sick very long. And, to be honest: Last night/this morning was one of the times I was very glad of that. I’d say that I’m feeling probably 85-90% of normal.

Tonight, I’ll probably wind up on the couch again, watching CSI: and generally taking it easy. I think I can handle that. Besides, I have Jell-O! “There’s always room for Jell-O.”

Stray Toasters

  • loonybin88 pointed out this article to me yesterday. My response: “It’s a fucking bear! DUH!” Let me first say that I feel badly for Stephan Miller’s family’s loss. But… IT WAS A BEAR! No matter how many safety precautions one takes, at the end of the day it’s still an animal that acts on instincts; the bear may have just been playing, as far as it was concerned. The consequences of its actions, however, have now raised a quandary as to what should be done with the bear:
    • Should it be put down? In my opinion, “No.”
    • Should it be released into the wild? I don’t think so… are its survival instincts refined enough to deal with being returned to its “native” environment? I don’t know.
    • Could it possibly be donated to a zoo? I don’t know, but this seems like the possible “best of both worlds” option to me.
  • I have discovered a new (to me) comics-related blog: Living Between Wednesdays
  • One of the last things you feel like doing when you’re sick is check your mail. I didn’t check mine yesterday. Had I, I would have found my Green Lantern John Stewart Minimates figure. That would have been something to smile about yesterday.
  • Wait… I did have something that not only made me smile, it downright made me laugh: invited some folks to dinner at Jitterbug and a showing of Forgetting Sarah Marshall last night. When I got her message, I told her that I wasn’t feeling well and would have to take a raincheck. That spawned the following messages:

    applevenus: Sorry about your herpes.
    applevenus: Spydr says sorry about your herpes.
    me: I’ll get some ointment.
    applevenus: Ha. Ha. Ha. Have fun.

  • Details interview with John Waters
  • For SaraRules and other fans of Pinkberry: The All-Natural Taste That Wasn’t
  • Caffeinate With Care: Small Shots Do a Brain Better Than Large Blasts
  • Maureen McHugh’s Brilliant short stories available as free Creative Commons download
  • BoingBoing has an article entitled Creepy/catchy “It’s Not a Compound” remix, featuring this video:

And it’s snowing. Again.