Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“All that we can do is just survive…”

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"All that we can do is just survive..."

After this morning’s madness, things have calmed down significantly. My personal threat Level has moved down to “Guarded” from “Severe.”

It was nice to get through the rest of the day without wanting to dismember service techs. Or coworkers. Or random strangers.  I skipped lunch, but that just meant that I got to go home earlier. And, as I have food in the fridge: !TANSTAAFL.

Stray Toasters

  • I’m picking up a pair of Billy bookcases (Billys? Billies?) from and OnlyAly in a bit. I guess that means I’ll have to prepare for less “theory” and more “practical application” of where to put them.
  • By way of Stephanie: Kimono’s Townhouse
  • Game Review: LEGO Batman
  • My copy of Iron Man is waiting for me at the local Best Buy.
    Online ordering + In-Store Pickup = Win.
  • Moo!
  • And, as it (somewhat) follows the theme of the ‘Toaster above: Guitar Heifer
  • Spicy chili kills amateur chef

And tonight: Scion.


“Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done…”

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"Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done..."

Tuesday – 30 Sep 2008
It’s always never a good sign when you get to work and the first thing that the first two people you see say to you is: “The network is down.”

Likewise, it’s definitely not a good thing when the second person adds,”…and I didn’t find that out for myself, [our President/COO] came and asked me about it.”


I looked at the systems I knew to check and they seemed alright. Next, I started making phone calls. Everything seemed “green” at that point. Then we hit a system that wasn’t looking too happy. And, of course, it was a Linux-based OS… and I’ve been elbow-up in Windows for the past few months. *sigh* So, a call to was in order; fortunately, he was already aware of the issue and was on his way in.

Welcome to Tuesday morning.

Stray Toasters

  • In honor of this morning’s problem: The Website Is Down

  • I’ve had enough “Do you know the network is down?” questions that I’m considering changing my job title from “System Engineer” to “The Shell Answer Man.”
  • Last week, I picked up the TPB of Ultra, by the Luna Brothers. It’s good – very good. It was what introduced me to their work. (I just wish that Girls had been as good…)
  • And then there was the issue with the phone system… and the smug service rep who decided to tell me “…you can’t use [type of phone] with [type of conferencing unit].”  Despite the fact that: A) It says that you can in the user’s manual and B) we were sold the unit on the basis of using it with our current phone system.

Perhaps taking an early constitutional is in order.


10-Yard Fight

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10-Yard Fight

Monday: Coda
After work, I came home to change clothes and then it was off to SaraRules’ to watch Monday Night Football.

There are two (2) teams – which means four games – that I love/hate to see the Ravens play each season:

  1. The Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. The Cleveland Browns

It’s a love/hate relationship because of family and friends – Bret and my uncle are BIG Steelers fans; is a Browns 2.0 fan. Then there’s the fact that both teams are in the AFC North, as well… so, they are Division games, to boot.

Tonight, the Ravens traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in Heinz Field.

I expected it to be a close game. And it was… at first. Then, the Ravens jumped out to a 13-3 lead. It was great. Then the Steelers put another 7 on the board. They kicked off to the Ravens… and then it happened: Joe Flacco fumbled the ball deep in Ravens’ territory. The Steelers recovered and ran it back for a touchdown. Fourteen (unanswered) points in fifteen seconds. Talk about painful.

The fourth quarter was a defense brawl. No one scored and so, the game went into overtime. At that point, I knew that the game was pretty much over. The Ravens won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball. But, thanks to penalties, wound up deep in their own territory. They kicked off to the Steelers… who engineered a drive down the field and scored the game-winning field goal.

After the game, I messaged Bret; I figured that I head that one off at the pass. I congratulated him on the win; he said he’d take it, because his team looked bad (in his opinion). He said that he was worried about this game, too. And, he also acknowledged that the refs – and the Ravens’ coordinators in the booth – muffed a call that cost the Ravens a touchdown early in the first quarter.

There’s another game in December. We’ll see how that one goes.

This was also the first game where I really got to watch Joe Flacco in action. He looked good, especially for a starting QB who’s in his rookie year in the NFL. He pulled off a few plays that I didn’t expect him to and looked, for the most part, comfortable on the field. After his fumble, it took him a couple of series to get settled down and get his head back in the game, but he did. I know that there were a lot of questions about him and his readiness for the big time, but based on what I saw tonight, I think he’s good to go.

Mid-day randomness

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Mid-day randomness

Today is loonybin88’s birthday:

We’re having fun with our dysfunctional phone system here at work. Yay.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
This I Believe: Caring Makes Us Human

Stray Toasters

I should probably think about what I want for lunch…

“Ashes, ashes, all fall down!”

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"Ashes, ashes, all fall down!"

Monday – 29 Sep 2008
Another work week begins. I think that I’m settling in to getting up around 6:20… I just wish that I’d stop waking up at 5:20. *shrug* Oh, well. At least I’m able to get back to sleep.

Today’s another fun day in the mines, but tonight’s MNF match-up has the Ravens taking on the Steelers in Pittsburgh. One way or the other, I’m going to get (at least) two phone calls about the game.


Speaking of football, what was the deal with the Eagles-Bears game last night? I expected a decent game, but I wasn’t expecting The Turnover Bowl.

Stray Toasters

Bang Zoom.


Sunday Sartorial Excursion

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Sunday Sartorial Excursion

Sunday – 28 Sep 2008
This morning started out with SaraRules and me picking up her brother and heading up to Park City. We went to Cisero’s for brunch. Mmm, brunch… As usual, the food was quite good. After eating, we headed down to the Tanger Outlet to do a little shopping – Logan was looking for some inexpensive additions to his wardrobe for work. We were successful in that endeavor; SaraRules picked up a “fabulous, new purple coat.”

We headed back down Parley’s Canyon and made a side trip to the local Stein Mart. I showed Logan a few items that would also make good additions. He came out of there with a new shirt and tie. He seemed to like the store – and the prices; I think that he’ll be heading back there relatively soon.

Next, we went back to SaraRules’ parents’ for football. We’re also fixing jambalaya for dinner. (“We” meaning “I peeled the shrimp.”) Then, there will be more football, a little later.

Stray Toasters


“Saturday, in the park…”

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"Saturday, in the park..."

Saturday – 26 Sep 2008
Yesterday, after work, I went to Far West and played Matt in a friendly game of Heroclix. He won. My dice hated me, especially in the middle of the game. They proved this by missing any target number I needed by 1. Almost consistently. But, it was a fun game.

Post-game, I came home and watched part of the Presidential debate with SaraRules. I’m still curious about CNN’s real-time stat tracker, used to get the mood/opinion of Democratic, Independent and Republican voters. I’ll have to look up information on how it was gathered/tallied.

Clitorati was up next.  Coffee, dinner and the conversations were all good. I still need to finish the crossword puzzle I started, though.

This morning, “sleeping in” was over a little after 8:00 AM. I think that I’ve figured out “why” I’ve been getting up so early on the weekends: I have been pushing my weekday wake-up time forward (I’m close to 6:15 at the moment), so my body feels that 7:30 – 8:00 IS sleeping in. Oh, well. SaraRules fixed omelettes and hash browns for breakfast. They were a nice change of pace. Then we got ready for the day.

Today was “Company Party Day,” as both of our companies held their end-of-summer get-togethers today. SaraRules’ was up first; it was at Boondocks. We played mini-golf and arcade games (including Galaga and skeeball) and just hung out for a couple of hours. Next was my party; it was at Lone Peak Park. As this party is our “family-friendly” gathering, they had an inflatable balloon-house where the kids could jump around, a climbing wall, games and cotton candy. It was fun. SaraRules and I ate with Dwim and his wife. We talked about comics and politics and other assorted and sundry things.

We stopped in to say “Hi” to SaraRules’ family on the way back to my place.  They were watching Doom (not to be confused with Dhoom). “Somehow,” I’d managed to miss that movie when it was in theatrical release; seeing it with the family-unit, however, allowed for some prime MST3K-ing.

Crisis on Infinite Earths… um… make that Banks

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Crisis on Infinite Earths... um... make that Banks

Friday – 26 Sep 2008
Friday. ‘Nuff said.

Happy Birthday to Josh:

Stray Toasters



“Money, it’s a crime. Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.”

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"Money, it's a crime. Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie."

Thursday – 25 Sep 2008
How do you kick off a great NBN Thursday? How about with a text message from your father saying that you have two (2) tickets to the Raiders-Ravens game for your birthday? Boo-yah. Yeah, I’d say that qualifies.

After work last night, I went home and decided – after almost a year – to hook the 360 up to the Interwebs and download firmware updates. The main problem: The 360 is in the living room, my router is in my office – in the back of the apartment – and I didn’t have an ethernet cable that was long enough to reach. I thought about – and tried – using my old router (as a hub) to daisy-chain a couple of cables. Which I would have gotten away with, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids and your dog! the fact that I didn’t have any 10′ cables to run from the second router to the 360. *sigh* Then, on a whim, I decided to see if I could share Defiant‘s wireless connection to give the 360 access to the Interwebs. After a quick consultation with and a look at some Mac forums, I found what I was looking for. And it was pretty simple, too. And it worked.

SaraRules came over a little later. Wednesday nights have become Project Runway (and, often, The West Wing) nights at my place, as SaraRules doesn’t get Bravo at her place. I’m not a huge “reality TV” fan, generally speaking, but I like seeing some of the designs that the contestants come up with on the show. Last night’s episode had an interesting challenge: The designers had to design outfits based on specific music genres… for each other. The genres that were chosen were:

  • Country (Leanne designing for Korto)
  • Hip Hop (Kenley designing for Leanne)
  • Pop (Jerell designing for Kenley)
  • Punk (Korto designing for Suede) and
  • Rock (Suede designing for Jerell)

A couple of the designs (Pop and Punk) were spot on;the Rock outfit was… a little bland; the Country look was a bit too subtle. But the Hip Hip look was… just… bad. Which was sad for a two reasons:

  1. Despite her occasional attitude, I like Kenley and most of the pieces she comes up with.
  2. LL Cool J was the special guest judge.

Yeah. You get tagged to design a Hip Hip look… and get it all wrong… AND you have to show it off in front of LL Cool J. Triple whammy.

It was also funny hysterical to hear some of the snarky comments by the other designers about the design – including a couple of “sabotage” comments, when they were asked, “So, do you think that this looks Hip Hop,” as she would try different accessories with an outfit. And they would say, “Yes…” and turn away before they burst out with laughter. Surprisingly enough, Kenley did survive elimination this week. But the preview for next week’s episode featured a couple of shots of the remaining designers in tears as their designs were critiqued, so it should be worth a look.

After Runway, I flipped over to The Late Show with David Letterman; I wanted to see who they got to fill Senator McCain’s guest spot. I had considered flipping over to MSNBC to see if Keith Olbermann had anything to say about it. I didn’t need to – Olbermann was Letterman’s guest. And they both had opinions to share about the senator’s decision. Letterman’s comments, by way of :

And, I found this copy of Olbermann’s thoughts:

Wait… did he say that making a bi-partisan/joint announcement was originally Senator Obama’s idea? And it was copped by the McCain camp? Huh.

Stray Toasters
Check back later for ‘Toasters.


Dollars and Sense

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Dollars and Sense

Senator McCain is suspending his campaign to help work on the economic crisis.

He is calling for Senator Obama to do the same.

I wonder about the following:

  1. Will Senator Obama ask Senator Biden to leave the campaign trail, as well?
  2. What will be the fallout if Senator Biden doesn’t leave the campaign trail?
  3. What will Governor Palin do if/when/while she has the campaign trail all to herself?

Story time!

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Story time!

Derek posted this in his blog a couple of days ago, reprinted with permission:

Story time! Before the midnight Sabbath day barrier, we went to Albertsons, because Number 5 needed food. I stayed in the car with some others. Jill, unaware that I have Tourette’s, began telling a story about some kid in church with Tourette’s, yelling in Sacrament Meeting. Now let me officially state this: I love funny stories about people with Tourette’s, being crazy. They are funny and make me laugh. There I said it. But no one else can laugh at it, because they don’t have the disease. Now all you white people, you can no longer laugh at that OR say the N word.

Anywho, she began telling the story and everyone else in the car, who knew that I had it, got really embarrassed and felt awkward. It was awesome!

Ah, Derek.

Stray Toasters

  • was talking about the top headline on Google News: Bernanke Tells Congress That US Economy Is Faltering earlier. His response:

    NO. SHIT. Thanks for the newsflash.
    I guess that’s why I’ve been getting such dirty looks walking around whistling We’re in the Money.
    It explains so much.

    With that, I clicked over to Google News to check out some other headlines. Most of them were rather mundane, but there were two that I saw that immediately went on the “Why should I care about this?” list:

    Couldn’t. Care. Less.

    Ms. Lohan’s “fifteen minutes of fame” has been at 13:55 for a long time, as far as I’ve been concerned. Yes, I think that Mean Girls is a fun film and her SNL Harry Potter skit is still amusing, but other than that… *shrug* And Clay Aiken? I’ve never been a big American Idol fan, so… yeah.

    And the bottom line: They’re living their lives. Let them. Is it really anyone else’s business? Um… no. Thank you, move along.

  • How Children Fail: angry lessons from failure to teach
  • Shipping containers could be ‘dream’ homes for thousands
    Such a simple, yet effective, solution. Why didn’t someone think of this before?!


“I wandered home through silent streets and fell into a fitful sleep…”

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"I wandered home through silent streets and fell into a fitful sleep..."

Wednesday – 24 Sep 2008
Some of my recent forays into The Dreaming have been odd. This morning, my subconscious apparently found a rather twisted path along the wildways in a dark area of The Dreaming… and skipped merrily along its way. Thus, I’ve been awake (for the most part) since 5:30 this morning, thanks to a lovely dream about my apartment being broken into. It was “a little” disturbing. After proving to myself that it was just a dream – but being too keyed up to sleep – I wound up sprawled on the couch watching SportsCenter. I apparently dialed down enough to nod off somewhere around 6:10. Just in time for the alarm to go off at 6:20. Yay.

Last night was very uneventful. I played my guitar for the first time in weeks. Adam called while I was cooking dinner – baked chicken over spaghetti, with a side of spinach; he had picked up The Invincible Iron Man animated movie that came out last year and had a couple of questions about it and how it related to the mainstream Iron Man. That led to questions about Watchmen – he’d seen the trailer and wanted to know if it was based on a comic. I told him that it was and that he should check it out. He then suggested the new Fox series, Fringe, to me. The show happened to be just starting as I finished cooking, so I watched it. It was good, but it may take a week or two to fully grow on me.

I also read two-and-a-half TPBs of Gotham Central (1, 2, 3). I had read the first and second ones before, but it has been a few months; I’d forgotten their storylines. I like what I’ve read of the third book, which I will probably finish tonight.

Stray Toasters

…right on to the friction of the day.


“Everybody need a soft filter…”

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"Everybody need a soft filter..."

Tuesday – 23 Sep 2008
Guess who’s having Eggo LEGO waffles for breakfast.
Mm-hmm, that’s right.
I am.

Last night’s tourney was a wash: Only Chris and I showed. So, Keith basically rolled the dice: I “won,” Chris got Fellowship. The prizes were a Johnny Storm LE ‘Clix. With the “formalities” over, Chris, Keith, Nano and I played a four-way free-for-all. Since it was a just a fun game to kill some time, I tried a random team:

Chris rolled with his usual Batman team, with a special guest star:

Nano played with:

Keith brought the Fantastic Four (starter set), including the Sue Storm and Johnny Storm LE figures. I have two things to say about this team:

  1. Watching someone play the FF as a team – and play them well – is a thing of beauty.
  2. Getting beat down by that same someone/team is a bittersweet pill… though still fun.

I think that my dice thought that we were playing a game of “Suicide ‘Clix,” because I couldn’t hit my target numbers half the time. I wore down a couple members of the FF, but Keith wound up taking me out. Chris and Nano duked it out on the far side of the board, with Chris winning that fight. Then it came down to Chris and Keith. They danced around the playing field a bit, but Keith finally wound up taking Chris out.

After the game, I headed over to SaraRules’ to hang out with her and her family and watch Monday Night Football. (Four shots at a two-point conversion – FOUR – and you THROW it?! ALL FOUR TIMES?!?) Her parents just returned from a ten-day Oregon excursion and it sounded like they had a lot of fun. And, as an unexpected bonus, they brought back some smoked Brie.

Back home. Chilled on the couch… started nodding off on the couch… called it a night. However, before I hit the rack, I watched a little of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. One of his guests was Marianne Jean-Baptiste, from Without a Trace. I don’t think that I’d ever heard her speak out of character, so I was “a little” surprised to hear a British accent.

This morning, I saw SaraRules drive by as she headed to work.
In a rare occurrence, she apparently saw me – and Jeff, a coworker with whom I was talkin – as well.

Stray Toasters

  • Bit is speaking!
    Her first word: “Dada”
    Bot is not so amused.
    From last night’s conversation with :

    11:00 hahaha bot is ragingly annoyed
    11:00 and thusly i am ragingly amused
    11:00 bit’s first word today
    11:00 or in the words of rana
    11:00 I FEED HER
    11:00 EVERY
    11:00 DAY
    11:00 EVERY NIGHT
    11:01 DADA!!!
    11:01 lol life is good

  • A new trailer for Quantum is Solace is out.
  • SaraRules pointed out a video that I neglected to check out from yesterday’s Muppet ‘Toaster:

    Watch it all the way to the end…

  • Some 640,000 Texans still without power
  • Did Howard Mackie and John Byrne plan on pulling a “One More Day/Brand New Day” kind of stunt in the 90s? You bet they did. Details here.
  • 15 train robbers killed by poison gas
  • MarknTyme: You’ll have to check this out when you get home: Habenera

And that’s that… for now.


Late-afternoon musings

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Late-afternoon musings

Stray Toasters

Up out.

“Rainy Days and Mondays…”

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"Rainy Days and Mondays..."

Monday – 22 Sep 2008
Another work week begins.
And it’s a grey, wet morning.

Yesterday was a 2/3 good day, in terms of football:

There was a lot of good football yesterday, but I don’t think that anything amused/pleased me as much as seeing “Big Ben” Roethlisberger and the Steelers drop a game to the Eagles. Of course, ANY Steelers loss makes me smile, but the Steelers never found the end zone and were held to two field goals. We’ll see if they’re still playing this “well” next week, when the Ravens make a trip to Steeltown and face them.

SaraRules and I finished The Orphanage last night. Good movie, but not quite what we were expecting. Given the Guillermo Del Toro name, I think that we were expecting a little more “horror.” There were definite horror elements, but I wouldn’t call it a “horror movie.” I’m sure that Tyranist would disagree with me, though.

Stray Toasters

  • Math is hard. Let’s go shopping!
  • Kate Perry != Jill Sobule
  • Sexist pigs earn more than normal men
  • I’ve read some complaints about the “I’m a PC” commercials that MicroSquish is now running. Personally, I find them amusing… and far more palatable than the Bill & Jerry commercials. What I would really love to see would be a new wave of Apple “Mac vs. PC” commercials where they start off:

    PC: I’m a PC.
    Mac: I’m a PC, too… but I’m running Mac OS X.
    PC: *sputter* What?!
    Mac: Yeah, I’m a PC. I just happen to run a different OS. But, when you really look at it, our hardware isn’t really that different.
    PC: But, that’s just going to confuse people. Just say you’re a Mac and be done with it. People don’t want to have to think.
    Mac: *stares at PC* Are you saying to just keep the sheep quiet and happy…?
    PC: *deer in headlights look* No… no! I’m not saying that. I’m saying that you’re just going to… confuse them.
    Mac: So… they’re too slow to understand the difference between hardware and software?
    PC: I…. You…. oh, forget it! *throws hands up in the air* There’s just no talking to you!
    Mac: Actually, there are lots of ways! Wireless networking. Wired. Even good, old-fashioned SneakerNet.
    PC: *rolls eyes and walks off-camera*

  • SaraRules just pointed out the following: Microsoft is pushing Seinfeld away too soon
  • Feds Tighten DNS Security on .gov

Today: Work… work… work…
Tonight: ‘Clix tourney.

Back to it.