Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Workout and evening wrap-up

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Workout and evening wrap-up

Tuesday: Coda
This afternoon, Wes and I headed to the gym to get in a late lunchtime workout. After we got out on the floor, SaraRules came over to say “Hi” and chat for a few minutes.  Today’s routine consisted of:

  • Leg Raises: 3 sets/20 reps
  • Bench Press: 300 lbs (1 rep); 3 sets/10 reps, 205 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/12 reps, 125 lbs
  • Lat Pulldown: 3 sets/10 reps, 120 lbs
  • Lower Back Extensions: 2 sets/15 reps, 160 lbs
  • Flys: 3 sets/10 reps, 130 lbs
  • Chest Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 90 lbs

Since I did another rep of 300, it’s time to decide what’s next. It’s either going to be:

  • 2+ reps at 300
  • Bumping the weight up to… 310 or 315

We’ll see how that goes.

Tonight, SaraRules and I stayed in and watched NCIS and Food Network Challenge… and then set about the task of making decisions on our “Save the Date” announcements. We also looked at a few photographers, but I’m not sure which of the three gets my nod.

Stray Toasters

And now, The Late Show with David Letterman.


“Well, if they wanted his soul, they should have made a deal with a priest.”

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"Well, if they wanted his soul, they should have made a deal with a priest."

Tuesday – 31 March 2009
It’s hard to believe that March is nearly over already.

Last night, SaraRules and I had “Sunday dinner” with her family. We also watched Quantum of Solace. I still enjoy the movie and, to a lesser degree, the theme song… but the theme still sounds a bit too disjointed and/or like it’s trying too hard to be a Bond theme. *shrug* While there, her father offered me a taste of something new at Whole Foods: Double Cream White Chocolate Milk. Wow. It was good. VERY good, in fact.

Back at home, SaraRules did some quilting and I read last week’s comics. The standouts of the haul were:

  • Captain America #48 – In this issue, Bucky/Winter Soldier/Cap, Namor and Black Widow wrap up a few loose ends from Cap’s time as the Winter Soldier. And, while he’s never been a favorite character of mine, it was nice to see Namor’s wrath directed at a target who deserved it for an actual affront, rather than a perceived one.
  • Fantastic 4: #565 – This was the second part of a holiday story that saw the FF and family on vacation in Scotland. To be honest, the first half of the story didn’t exactly wow me; the finale, however, was good. I was also surprised at how the issue ended: A “thank you” letter from someone the FF saved during the issue’s adventure.
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. #2 – More adventures of Vril Dox (Brainiac 2) and his attempt to wrest control of his L.E.G.I.O.N. operation from his usurpers. Supergirl and the LSH’s Brainiac 5 are on-hand to lend assistance, as well.
  • Wonder Woman #30 – Readers finally meet The Olympian, whose arrival has been hinted at for a while. We also learn just how far Dr. Barbara Minerva, the Cheetah, is willing to go to try and break Diana. (Hint: It’s pretty far.) But, readers also see just how far Diana is willing to let herself be pushed… and how far she’s willing to push back.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for now.


Yep, it’s definitely a “Monday.”

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Yep, it's definitely a "Monday."

Monday – 30 March 2009
The new work week began with a new dusting of snow. There was a little slush on the streets, but nothing insurmountable. I came in a little early this morning because I had a “special project” to work on:

Our department has had a running… practical joke… for the past couple months: “An object” will magically appear at someone’s desk (usually in their chair or in a drawer) when they are away from their desk. I wound up with it about a week ago; Sean, one of my employees, tagged me with “the gift.” I promised him that I’d get even. And I waited…

This past Thursday and Friday, Sean was out of the office. He was having surgery…

…and that was when I formulated my revenge. I figured that I could kill two birds with one stone: Payback for getting “the gift” and “welcome back” all in one.

Last night, I went out and picked up the things I’d need. This morning, I came in and set them up. The time and effort were worth the investment for the expression on Sean’s face when he came in this morning. Pictures can be seen here.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. And it is very cold in space…
-Khan Noonian Singh

This morning also brought with it some server troubles. It took a bit to suss out where the problem started, but once we got that figured out, it was just a matter of getting the right people on the task. So far, it looks like things are working the way they’re supposed to.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.


“I turn my back to the wind, to catch my breath before I start off again…”

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"I turn my back to the wind, to catch my breath before I start off again..."

Sunday – 29 March 2009
Today has been a quiet and slow day… and that’s good.

<< Rewind <<
Yesterday morning, SaraRules and I got up, picked up her mother and headed to South Towne Expo Center for a bridal show. We stood in a short line to get in and, then, it was “Game On.” The show was smaller than I had expected – far smaller, in fact. There were, maybe… 40 exhibitors in all. I think that we were in and out of the show inside of 30 minutes.  However, in that time, I put a deposit on my tuxedo rentals with Men’s Warehouse; they were running a special that I couldn’t pass up: $30 off each rental. Win.

There was a car show at the other end of the Expo Center, so we checked out the cars they had outside the main hall. That was when I also noted the differences in admission to the events:

  • Bridal Show:
    • Brides: Free
    • Other guests: $5.00
  • Auto Show: $14.50

I began to wonder which show would actually make the most money. I’d like to see the final numbers.

After dropping off SaraRules’ mom, we headed to Oh Sushi for lunch. Tasty, tasty sushi… Next: Dr. Volt’s.  From there, we headed to Wheeler Farm for an afternoon walk. The weather was perfect for it – sunny, a light breeze and high clouds. Next, we headed to Best Buy to pick up a copy of Quantum of Solace. Then, back home for a bit…

…and then off to OnlyAly and ‘s for poker. It was a good crowd and I played in some good games. Despite some decent hands, I got outplayed in both of the tourneys. At least it was fun and a good way to spend the evening.

> Play >
As I mentioned, today has been quiet and relaxing.  I got a good night’s sleep last night, following Friday night’s rather poor-quality sleep. We watched an episode of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, featuring Baltimore Ravens’ TE Daniel Wilcox. We also caught an episode Top Gear that featured a Ford Fiesta storming a beach along with the Royal Marines AND being chased – through a mall (video) – by a Chevrolet Corvette . (I swear, they get away with more cool stuff on that show…)

Next up: Errand-running.
(Misson: Accomplished)

This evening, I’m not sure what’s on tap. I believe that we’re doing Date Night tonight, as we aren’t having dinner with SaraRules’ family until tomorrow night.

Stray Toasters


Why doesn’t anything happen when I press this key…?

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Why doesn't anything happen when I press this key...?

Friday – 27 March 2009
Another 9/80 “on” Friday kicked off…

…with me coming into the office to find out that the alarm had been tripped. *grblsnrkx* Turns out that the electricians were the first ones in the office and they don’t have our alarm code. I fired off a quick email to TPTB and let them know what happened.

Next, I discovered that one of the logon scripts on my main PC decided to go on holiday. I had to bug Jim, one of our Windows admins, to help me walk through some steps to try and recover. It looks like Windows has horked itself. Fortunately, I have another Win box that I can just port things over to. It’s just a matter of taking the time to do so. Good thing it’s the slow Friday around here.

Stray Toasters


Workout: 2009-03-26

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Workout: 2009-03-26

SaraRules convinced me of the benefit of working out this evening (rather than just sitting on my bum and staring at the TV), so we went to the gym:

  • Leg Raises: 3 sets/15 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 185 lbs
  • Lat Pull-downs: 3 sets/10 reps, 110 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 125 lbs
  • Reverse Fly: 3 sets/10 reps, 80 lbs
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/15 reps, 160 lbs
  • Curl/Shoulder Press (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 20 lbs

Post-workout weight: 183.0 (taken at home, because I spaced it off at the gym)

All things being equal, it was good to get out of the house and get in the workout that I missed this afternoon.

NBN Thursday post-lunch musings

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NBN Thursday post-lunch musings

I had to skip the lunchtime workout today; I had a lunch meeting to attend. We went to Pawit’s Royal Thai. (, Pawit said to tell you “Hello.”) Pad Pra Grow and iced coffee. Very tasty. And the meeting was productive, too.

Stray Toasters

  • I caught Bret online a little while ago. I haven’t had a chance to catch up with him in a while, so it was nice to have a few minutes’ long chat with him.
  • Girl, 14, Faces Porn Charges for Nude Photos
  • Damn you, Mafia Wars!  *shakes fist*
  • Photographer Captures L.A.’s Vintage Homes
  • It’s amazing that I’ve been looking for new ‘Clix to make… and it didn’t occur to me – until this afternoon – to make a John Stewart GL one.
  • Speaking of GLs, Stephanie did a mock-up of my GL Pony as a mini-pony. She said that it looks good. I can’t wait to see the finished product.
  • Cassandra Wilson: Standards Transformed
  • Wing Commander (the game, not the movie)
  • was screening resumes and came across one that made his brain go all ‘splodey. I had to see what caused it, so I went around to his desk to check it out. *OW* The entire thing was written in an Olde English font…¹
  • 10 OSes We Left Behind


¹ – It turned out that the resume was fine; it was ‘s word processor that read it oddly.

“Big money goes around the world…”

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"Big money goes around the world..."

Thursday – 26 March 2009
There are light flurries again this morning. *shrug* I think that it’s supposed to creep back into (or at least near) the 60s this weekend.

Last night, after stopping to say “Hi” to , SaraRules and I went walking. (Hey, it’s exercise…)  As it was cold and wet outside, we opted to go walking at South Towne Center. I hadn’t been there in… longer than I can remember. Mall-walking has the added benefit of allowing you to pick and pan the latest fashions in the window displays. We did. There were a number of dresses in one store’s windows that we found… “aesthetically unpleasing.” But, we were also pretty sure that somewhere a high school-aged young lady would think that they were the greatest things ever. Also while walking through the mall, I found $20 USD. Just lying there on the ground. WIN! We also discovered that there are TWO Bank of America ATMs in the mall. O,o ?!? (For those of you who don’t understand why this is noteworthy: BoA doesn’t have branches in this state… AND they happen to be my bank. Thus, finding a veritable last bastion of banking goodness makes me quite happy.) Seeing the ATMs also raised a question: Who services these machines? We guess that someone from either Idaho, Nevada or Wyoming must have to cover them on their routes.

After getting back home, we watched NCIS, The Late Show and The Late Late Show. Just before heading off to bed, I decided to give “The Fickle Finger of Fate” method to channel surfing and see what was on. One of the things I found was Blacula. I haven’t seen that in ages. It made me laugh, but I still turned off the TV and called it a night.

Stray Toasters

…right on to the friction of the day.


Post-lunch musings

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Post-lunch musings

The tasting went well.  It was also beneficial for something that I hadn’t considered: Seeing how the space “flowed” when it was full of people. Even with tables set up and people throughout the building, there was a good deal of space in which people could move around. The food was good and we came up with a few ideas for our menu.

Stray Toasters

  • By way of Nyx: Shirts My Way, custom-made men’s dress shirts
  • I’m running a new screen saver on my work PC called Electric Sheep. It’s… interesting, in a good way. I’m just glad that I’ve never been been one who is inclined to partake of “herbal cigarettes” (as Craig Ferguson refers to them). Because doing that and then looking at this would most likely be world-changing. Electric Sheep is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Gizmodo ran an article about Miniatur Wunderland. After checking it out, I passed it along to a few people. Drew shot back with a video of Madoradam, in Holland.
  • , I know what you mean. I get That Time Is Now (the Superfriends bump) stuck in my head…
  • Inspriation for Super Friends’ Hall of Justice
  • There are far too many of these on The Covet List.
  • Ian McKellen: The Player, by way of
  • Disney hasn’t released Song of the South in the U.S. on DVD or video; it’s been deemed racist. *GASP* A few days ago, I found this site, offering the unedited movie on DVD. I’m leery, but curious. Very curious, indeed…
  • Mafia Wars
  • Komodo dragons kill man

Back to it.


“A Lerxst in Wonderland”

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"A Lerxst in Wonderland"

Wednesday – 25 March 2009
After dinner last night, while SaraRules was at her book club, I went to visit . Sissy the Wonder Kitty was being social last night, as well.

When I got home, MarknTyme was online. We spent the better part of the next hour talking about bands and music and whatnot. In that time he introduced me to a couple new bands:

One of my retorts was the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.

This morning, I woke up with the theme from Josie and the Pussycats (the cartoon, not the movie) running through my head. It’s not a horrible song, in fact, it’s rather catchy. All the same, I’m listening to Hemispheres to purge it.

Today would normally be Sushi and Comics Wednesday… but SaraRules and I are attending a tasting at our reception center, so this week’s raw fishes and four-color haul will have to wait.

Stray Toasters

Attack the day
Like birds of prey…


Workout and other randomness…

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Workout and other randomness...

Wes and I hit the gym for a long-overdue workout at lunch:

  • Leg Raises: 3 sets/15 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 205 lbs
  • Reverse Fly: 3 sets/10 reps, 80 lbs
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/15 reps, 160 lbs
  • Curl/Shoulder Press (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Tricep Extensions (rope): 3 sets/15 reps, 60 lbs
  • Core (plank): 2 sets, 45 secs

Post-workout weight: 185.2 lbs

Not too terrible for the first workout in a week-and-a-half. I’m not sure if I’m going to get a workout in on Thursday, as I may have a meeting.  We shall see…

Stray Toasters


“…to pass the evening with drink and a friend.”

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"...to pass the evening with drink and a friend."

Tuesday – 24 March 2009
After work, SaraRules and I went to visit . After that, we had dinner with and (I know!), who is on her way to California. told us about her trip to Africa, some of the people she met and the things she experienced; it sounded like an amazing adventure. I believe that we’re in for quite the slideshow when she comes back from California. And… she also hinted that she had some ring designs to show us, as well.

The Best: A Whiter Shade of Pale
Procol Harum vs. Annie Lennox vs. Sarah Brightman

I’ve been a fan of this song for… so long that I don’t even remember how long it’s been. Yeah, that long. I’m good with all three of the versions that I have, but there are distinctions:

  • The Procol Harum version, the original, is… just… classic. I love the sound of the Hammond organ in this. And, Gary Brooker’s vocals sound like someone recounting a strange tale over a drink in a bar or in someone’s sitting room.
  • As rich and nearly melancholy as the Procol Harum version is, the Annie Lennox version is… almost spartan in its synthesized sound. Parts of the arrangement are rather evocative of a music box, even. Ms. Lennox’ mellow contralto vocals provide a nice counterpoint to the synth sound.
  • The Sarah Brightman version is… over-orchestrated. This isn’t to say that it’s a poor arrangement – it is rather well-done. (Although, and I just noticed this: It sounds like something that I’d expect to hear on a CD from Enigma.) Ms. Brightman’s soft (though strong) soprano vocals come off a bit ethereal… which works well with the arrangement, but still leaves me wanting a little something more.

So, for my taste, it shakes out like this:

  1. Procol Harum
  2. Annie Lennox
  3. Sarah Brightman

Stray Toasters

Unintentional Porn Overheard at Work
Part of our office is undergoing a remodel. We have electricians here today and, a few minutes ago, I was treated to the following:

Jr. Electrician: What’s going on?
Sr. Electrician: Just trying to get this 3″ in here…


Sr. Electrician: We ever gonna get this up?
(Talking about running some conduit in the ceiling)

Yep, just another fun-filled day…


“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…”

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

Monday – 23 March 2009
After a weekend in the upper 60s – and I think I even saw the thermometer hit 71°F on Saturday – it’s snowing. Or, at least it was snowing this morning. Right now, it would be better to say “flurries,” but you get the idea.

Yesterday, I got up and met and Bird at the Garden of Sweden. Yes, that was two trips in two days – they had a sale with “one day only” items. Yesterday’s item was an 11-quart stockpot. I didn’t think that it would be as popular an item as it was. I stood in line to get mine and then wandered back through the store to find Nyx and Bird. By the time we got back to the kitchenware section, ten to fifteen minutes later, all of the pots had sold out. Unglaublich! I left Nyx and Bird to finish their shopping and headed to the checkout, where I got in line between two ladies – either sisters or long-time friends – who had also come in search of the stockpot. Listening to them banter back and forth was amusing. As I was leaving, one of them stopped me:

Lady: I saw that you got one of those pots and just have to know what you’re going to use it for. I’m using mine to make gumbo.
Me: I’m mainly going to use it for cooking Cornish hens.
Lady: How’re you going to do that?
Me: I parboil them before baking them.
Lady: I see. Well, you should try putting a little bit of orange marmalade on them before you put them in the oven.
Me: I’ll have to try that. Thanks!

It was cute and unexpected.

I made another stop and then popped in to say “Hi,” to and to drop off a couple of things.  I couldn’t stay long because Chris was heading over… and had, in fact, already been to my place.

I got home, met Chris and we headed to Five Guys to pick up some lunch. Then, it was back to my place for a game of HeroClix. We chose a “Monsters vs. Monsters” theme. 600 points limit. I went with:

  • Cassandra Nova
  • Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy
  • Giant Man (zombie)
  • Johnny Sorrow and
  • Joker (Arkham Asylum)

Chris brought:

  • Giant-Man (zombie)
  • Iron Man (zombie)
  • Maestro
  • Spider-Man (zombie) and
  • Wolverine (zombie)

Then it was game on. After a couple of opening feints, we started in on the battle royale. We wound up wearing each other’s teams down, but Chris finally got me to a point where my last two figures (Cassandra Nova and Giant Man) couldn’t do anything to damage his remaining figures (Iron Man and Maestro), so I conceded the game. A little while later, while we were hanging out, SaraRules got home; she’d been in AZ visiting her grandparents. After Chris left, she recounted her vacation and I told her about my week. It’s good to have her back home.

Stray Toasters

And that’s that.


First Sign of Spring

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First Sign of Spring

I know that most people would say that a sure sign of Spring is warm weather…

…or birds in the sky…
…or bees buzzing around…
…or budding flowers/trees…

Stuff like that.

Sure, most of those are good indicators, except the weather thing. It’s Utah, after all… the weather is still rather “fickle,” shall we say.

But, I heard – and saw – something that I take as an almost definitive sign of Spring: The ice cream man just drove by.

“Just some oak and some pine and a handful of Norsemen…”

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"Just some oak and some pine and a handful of Norsemen..."

Saturday – 21 March 2009
Yesterday was a pretty decent day. I met with Stephanie to choose the type of paint I want used on the GL pony she’s doing for me. After that, I picked up for a late lunch at Jitterbug. Then, we headed out to see .

Next on the agenda: Clitorati.  Tyler, one of the MFAs from SaraRules’ program, was in town and showed up for a while, as did . After dropping Nyx at home, I headed home to watch a little TV before calling it a night. I also started in on Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country, which MarknTyme had recommended to me many moons past.  It was a good pre-bed read.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the story.

This morning, I stopped at Beans & Brews for the first time in… at least three months. When I walked up to the counter, Ellie asked me,”Your usual…?” as if I had just been in a few days ago. That was a bit amusing and surprising, but pleasantly so. Then I came up to ‘s, to hang out for a bit.

Stray Toasters

At some point, I need to head down to The Garden of Sweden today… and tomorrow… to take advantage of their kitchen sale.