Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

New videogame trailer – Batman: Arkham Asylum

everyday glory, games, geekery No Comments »
New videogame trailer - Batman: Arkham Asylum

This game is due this summer and features the voices of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.

A first-hand tour of Batman: Arkham Asylum (Wired preview article)

“So… tell me what you want, what you really, really want…”

dining and cuisine, everyday glory, games, geekery, news and info, office antics, politics and law, workout No Comments »
"So... tell me what you want, what you really, really want..."

Friday – 30 January 2009
It’s quiet in the office today. Most of the people in our office recently started a 9/80 schedule – we work 80 hours in 9 days and get every other Friday off – and this is most of the office’s “off” Friday. The IT team has been split in two and my team works the odd Friday and will have next Friday off. I think that there are… six (6) of us in the building, so far.  (Must refrain from playing City of Heroes all day…)

Last night, SaraRules and I had dinner with our friend Murphy. Not Eddie. Not Peter. Papa. As in “Take and bake pizza.” It was good. After dinner (and a couple of episodes of NCIS and CSI:), we went to the gym:

  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 185 lbs
  • Reverse Fly: 3 sets/10 reps – 1 set @ 70 lbs, 2 sets @ 80 lbs
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/15 reps, 140 lbs
  • Pull-downs: 3 sets/10 reps, 110 lbs
  • Rows: 3 sets/12 reps, 125 lbs
  • Dips: 3 sets/10 reps

It was a short, but good, workout.

Post-workout weight: 186.0.
SaraRules suggested that I might think about cutting back on crack ginger snaps.  I suggested that she might be wrong in that… and that I could stop any time I wanted.  If I wanted to, that is.

Stray Toasters


“In the skillet, there’s somethin’ cooking…”

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"In the skillet, there's somethin' cooking..."

Thursday – 29 January 2009
Last night, came over for dinner. I cooked Cornish hens with green beans and rice (cooked in chicken broth) for side dishes. Everything turned out pretty well. For dessert, we had ice cream and ginger snaps. It was a fun dinner.

After left and leftovers and dishes had been put away, SaraRules and I started watching The Big Sleep. I’ve never seen a Philip Marlowe movie – nor read any of the books – so it was a nice treat. Unfortunately, we were both wiped out from a couple of long days, so we didn’t finish the movie.

Stray Toasters

Tonight: CSI: and Burn Notice.


Mid-afternoon random conversation

everyday glory, human of the day, office antics No Comments »
Mid-afternoon random conversation

I just had my favorite exchange of the day, with Julie (our company’s property and asset manager):

Julie just… jumped (kind of)… in her chair and kind of slumped down, out of the corner of my eye, it looked almost like she “fell” in her chair.

I looked over at her and asked: “Julie, are you drunk…?”

She paused a second or two and said,”Yeah,” in a perfect deadpan delivery.

What made the conversation even better: Julie doesn’t drink.

It made me laugh.
It made laugh, too.

And, I’m making Julie my Human of the Day for today, too.

“And this one time, at band camp…”

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"And this one time, at band camp..."

Wednesday – 28 January 2009
This month is flying by. Kind of odd to think that February starts next week… and that Bit will be a year old a few days after that. I’m also curious to see how Black History Month celebrations note the election of President Obama.

Last night, while watching TV, I assembled a couple more pieces for the WWG “City Planning” board: The Apartment Building and the Vacant Lot. When it’s all said and done, the first corner/block will look something like this.

SaraRules and I also went to the gym last night:

  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps – 1 set @ 205 lbs, 2 sets @ 185 lbs
  • Rows (Nautilus, Compound Row): 3 sets/12 reps, 140 lbs
  • Flys (Dumbbell, flat bench): 3 sets/10 reps, 30 lbs
  • Shrugs: 3 sets/10 reps, 30 lbs
  • Curls: 3 sets/10 reps, 30 lbs
  • Lateral Raises (with forward fly): 3 sets/10 reps, 10 lbs
  • Tricep Extensions: 3 sets/15 reps, 60 lbs
  • Push-ups: 2 sets/10 reps

It was a pretty good workout.

Post-workout weight: 183.1 lbs

Stray Toasters

Tonight: is coming over for dinner; I’m cooking Cornish game hens… but no idea as to what I want to do for vegetables.


But, it’s only Tuesday…

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But, it's only Tuesday...

Tuesday – 27 January 2009
It’s cold (18°F), but we’re actually going to see the sun today. Hallelujah!

Last night was a lazy night of 24 and assorted TV watching and putting together some neighborhood tiles for a World Works Games model. Pre-24, I watched a couple episodes of NCIS – I remembered that I neglected to note something the other day: David McCallum, who plays Dr. Mallard on NCIS was also Lt. Cmdr. Eric Ashley-Pitt in The Great Escape… AND was Napoleon Solo’s right hand man, Ilya Kuryakin, in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

As I mentioned, I spent a good part of the evening building WWG models. I found a tutorial that suggested an incredibly simple – and very modular – method for creating miniature gaming environments. The most time-comsuming part, so far, has been cutting the pieces out, so that I can mount them on the foamcore bases. That and being distracted by the TV.

Chew on This – Food for Thought: US Airways passengers get $5,000; Is it enough?
This was almost a ‘Toaster.
Then I realized that I was more irritated about it than I had originally thought.

Maybe I’m a bit jaded, but I fall back on the “any landing you can walk away from” adage here. Is $5,000 enough? How about the fact that you’re still alive!? I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with the “It’s not enough compensation for what we went through” argument. You know what? You got to go home to your families. How many people never got that option?

I’m not saying that this wasn’t a stressful – and potentially mentally damaging – event, because it most definitely was… but YOU LIVED. Period. End of argument.

Stray Toasters

And, I’m apparently sitting in on an interview this morning.

No rest for the wicked, I guess.


“Cause it’s gonna be the future soon…”

engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory No Comments »
"Cause it's gonna be the future soon..."

A few weeks ago, SaraRules sent me a link to a website with stories of… unusual? …unique? …oddball?  …pick any of those or come up with your own… weddings. Complete with pictures. (The pictures didn’t really “help” things much, to be honest.)

I told her that she should post something about it and/or any other wedding-related items. She said that she’d think about it… if she had a wedding-related icon to post them with.

Considering that we’re still MONTHS away from a wedding, the closest things that I could think of – other than some goofy clip art or royalty-free picture of strangers – was a picture of us. Even better: A picture of us at our engagement dinner.

She agreed.

So, with all of that said, here’s the new icon:

I’m sure that I’ll probably post a few items, as well… but let’s face it: What don’t I post about?

“The walls are white and in the night, the room is lit by electric light.”

Council for Better Driving, everyday glory, geekery, movies and TV, music, news and info, politics and law, science and technology, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
"The walls are white and in the night, the room is lit by electric light."

Monday – 26 January 2009
There’s a new blanket of snow in the valley. It started yesterday – mostly flurries in the valley, slightly heavier on the benches.

I got into the office this morning to find an email requesting that we move some equipment… by close of business today. That’s all well and good. The problem that I had was that it wasn’t sent until almost 7:00 PM Friday night – long after I had left. *grblsnrkx* We got most of it done before lunch. We’ll finish the minor stuff later.

Stray Toasters

Lunch beckons.


How to spend a couple of rainy days…

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How to spend a couple of rainy days...

Sunday – 25 January 2009
Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law, Chelsea:

…and belated happy birthday to :

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled blog entry…

Yesterday, Chris and I headed to Far West Comics for a ‘Clix tournament. The scenario was Heroclix Xtreme Wrestling Federation. Deciding who to take was a bit of a challenge… mainly because I had what I thought were a lot of good options. I finally settled on these figures:

The tournament prize was Grodd (LE)… which was the last figure I wanted/needed for my Sinestro Corps. (Sure, I’d like a veteran Cyborg Superman, but that wasn’t what was up for grabs.)  Then, it was time to play:

  • I lost a few pieces in the first match, but won on points.
  • I got schooled in the second match and didn’t KO anyone in that match
  • I KO’ed everyone in the second match, without losing anyone… barely.

There was someone who went 3-0, while I went 2-1 on the day… but I got the Fellowship prize, so I was happy.

And, I beat Chris – for the second time in a week – so it was a “Win-Win” kind of day. After the tourney, Chris and I went to get a bite to eat and to hang out. We haven’t done that in a long time (not counting last Tuesday when he came over for dinner and gaming).

After that, I came home and hung out with SaraRules.  We finished watching The Great Escape; I realized that I had  only seen a few minutes of the movie – mostly around Steve McQueen’s motorcycle chase – before this. After that, I watched Batman: The Brave and the Bold… and something else… before heading out to breakfast.

This morning has been quiet and lazy. (It’s amazing what the lack of football will do to a Sunday.) SaraRules cooked breakfast – pancakes! – and we watched Unforgiven. Great movie…. and one that I haven’t seen this movie since its theatrical release. After that went off, I found Dr. No on BBC America.

All this, and I’ve even managed to partake in a little of City of Heroes‘ Double XP Weekend, too. I got Kurigari from 31 to 32… in one mission. Can’t really complain about that.

Not sure what we’re going to do for the rest of the afternoon, but later we’re heading to SaraRules’ parents’ to watch Shadow of the Vampire.


“Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape.”

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"Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape."

Saturday – 24 January 2009
Last night, after coffee, SaraRules and I started watching The Great Escape – it’s on Comcast’s On Demand. Good movie… but long. We stopped with about an hour left in the film. I flipped on The Late Late Show after that, to see who the guests would be. I hit the jackpot: James Earl Jones. It was a fun interview, in fact they were having so much fun that they pre-empted the second guest.

After hitting the rack, I had a strange The Great Escape-induced dream. It was set in a POW camp, of sorts, but I don’t recall anything about escape attempts. The odd/most odd part of the dream was once the prisoners were liberated and the returned home, twenty or so years had passed… outside the camp. Leaving these men out of their time, so to speak. (Now that I think about it, part of this dream seems like it has ties to a Hellblazer story I read a few weeks ago, too…)

SaraRules is on her way to another bridal fare and to look at a few more possible venues.
I’m getting ready for a ‘Clix tournament – today’s theme: Xtreme Wrestling Federation.

And with that…


It’s that time again…

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It's that time again...

Lunch-time dance break:

  • Girls Aloud vs. Madonna – Some Kind of Beautiful Stranger
  • Ohio Players – Fire
  • Madonna vs. Atomic Kitten – Don’t Tell Me the Tide Is High

Get your groove on… even if it’s just a chair-dance.

“Misty Morning Hop”

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"Misty Morning Hop"

Friday – 23 January 2009
The week draws to a close… with fog and haze in the valley. It’s dense enough that I can barely see the freeway. Then it rolls out. And back in. Even Otis Redding didn’t see this much action.

Last night, OnlyAly and came over for dinner.  SaraRules cooked a maple chicken, with carrots and roasted potatoes, which was delicious. During and after dinner, the four of us discussed wedding-related items: Things that SaraRules and I have talked/thought about and things to consider, reminiscences of their wedding and the lead-up to it, and the like. It was a great way to spend the evening.

Later in the night, I watched an NCIS rerun and the new episode of CSI:. I am liking Laurence Fishburne’s character, Dr. Ray Langston. He portrays him with an interesting sense of curiosity and wonder… balanced with a desire to prove that he can hold his own on the established team. I didn’t get to watch the season premiere of Burn Notice, but it’s on the DVR.

Stray Toasters


“Everybody need a soft filter…”

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"Everybody need a soft filter..."

Thursday – 22 January 2009
Last night, SaraRules and I went downtown to see Utah Opera’s performance of Regina. I was looking forward to it, as it is not only a modern (1949) American opera, but it is performed in English – I wanted to see if it was easier to follow without having to divert my attention to the supertitles.

It was… well… let’s just say that I now have a “least favorite opera.” I was truly underwhelmed by the overall performance, as was SaraRules. I asked her to rate it, she gave it a 5.8; she asked me to do the same – I gave it a 4.0… possibly a 5.0… out of ten.  Why? My reasons include:

  • In the first act, there were two or three portions where the cast broke the fourth wall… that seemed rather contrived, almost as if they didn’t expect the audience to be able to piece together something that had just occurred onstage,
  • The breaks between accompanied and a capella parts – both spoken and sung – were harsh and jarring to me,
  • The casting of Deanne Meek as Regina Giddens – mostly her voice didn’t seem to lend itself to the performance; she often seemed overwhelmed by the orchestration,
  • The costuming seemed out of place for the period, and
  • The production quality – sound, use of microphones(!?) – didn’t seem up to Utah Opera’s normal standards.

There were some redeeming qualities, however:

  • The casting of Lisa Vroman as Birdie Hubbard
  • The casting of Kristopher Irmiter as Horace Giddens
  • The casting of Tracey Luck as Addie
  • The set design – I really liked how the set transformed from indoors to outdoors and back

And, to be honest, the redeeming items added at least two points to my rating. To be fair, I would be willing to see this again, if performed by another company, to juxtapose the performances before completely writing off this opera.

Stray Toasters


“In blackest day, in brightest night…”

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"In blackest day, in brightest night..."

Wednesday – 21 January 2009
Midweek and all’s well.

Last night, Chris came over for dinner and ‘Clix gaming. SaraRules fixed a tasty southwestern chicken dish, with corn and tomatoes and rice pilaf. Very tasty. We ate and watched NCIS before playing.  After dinner, SaraRules went into the office and quilted; Chris and I played dolls.

We had Round 2 of our Green Lantern Corps vs. Sinestro Corps battle; this time, I played the Sinestro Corps. As an added bonus, I finally got to use some of the terrain I got from World Works Games:

(click images for larger versions)

Chris lined up with:

I brought a fairly beefy SiCorps to the table:

And it was on. We weren’t playing tournament rules, so we just had a good, old-fashioned slugfest and shootout. And, in the end, I wound up winning the game. This brings the Sinestro Corps to two wins and zero losses. We discussed the fact that – assuming that the HeroClix line finds a pulse soon – WizKids/Pinata needs to update a lot (read: “most”) of the Green Lantern Corps’ figures, because there aren’t a lot of heavy hitters in the current sets… and while they may do “okay,” they can’t really go toe-to-toe with many of the newer figures for long.

Stray Toasters


Late-afternoon diversion

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Late-afternoon diversion

This morning, I came into the office to find the following adorning my cube:

That’s right… my cube got a Steelers makeover from Julie and Sean yesterday.

It actually made me laugh.  The only thing that could have possibly made it better would have been if they had changed my Ray Lewis/Ravens picture on the wall where we had been tracking our teams’ progress through the season.