Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Proving that fruit from the Garden of Sweden has many uses…

everyday glory, geekery, IKEA No Comments »
Proving that fruit from the Garden of Sweden has many uses...

I just stumbled across this ad on IKEA Hacker:

More than “…just some oak and some pine
And a handful of Norsemen,” indeed.


“I am the eye in the sky, looking at you…”

books, cyberpunk/steampunk, everyday glory, games, geekery, monkeys!, movies and TV, music, news and info, office antics, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
"I am the eye in the sky, looking at you..."

Friday – 31 July 2009
First and foremost: Happy Birthday, !

Sorry I only wished you a happy birthday in person and not on your Facebook Wall

It’s not my 9/80 Friday, but at least it’s quiet around here today. Maybe I’ll be able to clear a few things off my “To Do” list…

…of course, I might just have to add “Play Typing of the Dead” to that list, though. I wonder if I can justify it as “Training,” since it (theoretically) is a typing game/tutor..?

Stray Toasters



“You can carry that weight with an iron will…”

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"You can carry that weight with an iron will..."

Wednesday: Coda
I picked up my car after work. My wallet was much lighter after that stop. But, after nearly 100,000 miles, things were bound to need replacing. So, all things considered (on NPR), I can’t really complain. That… and the car runs better – without leaks and without the “Check Engine” light being on.

SaraRules fixed Pad Thai for dinner. We ate it while watching last week’s episode of Burn Notice. Win-Win.

Next on the agenda: The gym. We did a chest and biceps routine:

  • Sit-ups (decline): 3 sets/20 reps – included 10 reps of opposite elbow-to-knee twists on two sets
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 185 lbs
  • Chest Press (Icarian): 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/10 reps
  • Flys (dumbbell, flat bench): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 20 lbs
  • Core (plank): 3 sets/45 seconds

Weight (morning): 184.5 lbs

It was a nice end-of-the-day workout.

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
SaraRules hit a new max bench weight today: 95 pounds. With that came the following gem:

Yeah, I’m a bad-ass. Take that, bitches!

Take that, indeed.

“How can I put this in a way so as not to offend or unnerve…?”

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"How can I put this in a way so as not to offend or unnerve...?"

Thursday – 30 July 2009
Another NBN Thursday kicks off in the Valley of the Lake of Salinity. Seems like I was just “here.” Of course, doing a late night post and then turning right around and doing another in the morning will do that to you.

I chatted with Dana, from Galaxy of Comics, for a bit last night. In the course of our conversation, she pointed out a something about the latest issue of Batman that I hadn’t considered: It made sense for Two-Face to deduce who was under the cowl. After all, he has been the closest thing that Dick Grayson has had to a recurring (arch)villain… ever since Dick’s days as Robin. Brilliant. And, as a side note: If you’re in the Los Angeles area, check out Galaxy of Comics, it’s a nice little shop.

Stray Toasters

  • Plastinkuzz DJ Scratch Card
  • Men at Work face plagiarism case
  • By way of comes Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution?
  • Kerry Tribe’s H.M.
  • From Weta Collectibles: Cortana
  • Funds Dwindle to Dismantle Old Nuclear Plants
    (Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to take the tour at EBR-1 this year…)
  • One notable problem that I’ve noticed with Safari: For some reason, it doesn’t always play nicely with my Live+Press plugin. Most specifically, it fails to retain the “Insert Linkback” and “Disable Comments” settings – the settings that force comments to be made on Random Access rather than in LiveJournal. Thus, I have to remember to set them manually with each post. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I’ve noticed.
  • Speaking of which: I’m still somewhat amused (and bemused) by comments I get about the fact that I’ve stopped allowing comments on my LiveJournal and that they have to be posted on my WP blog – mainly, the fact that commenter has to be registered on my site to post a comment. I think that the most common complaint I’ve heard/read is “It’s another password I have to remember.” True… to a point, since a browser can be set to remember the password. The other, related comment is that it’s yet another site to be accessed in order to comment. That one’s valid. But, as I only mirror content on LJ, it’s not one that I’m inclined to change… especially since the decision to migrate my blog to my site a few years back. *shrug* C’est la vie.
  • China concerned about abortions
  • MI5 Website Breached by Hackers

Friction of the day and whatnot…


“Beware my power: Green Lantern’s light!”

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"Beware my power: Green Lantern's light!"

Wednesday: Coda
The day turned out better than Tuesday, after all. Selah.

After work, SaraRules and I headed to Kate and Perry’s – I had a few Blackest Night-related comics to hand off. On the way there, we were passed by a couple of scooter riders whose helmets looked… vaguely familiar; I confirmed later that it was and A 400 Lb Gorilla. We hung out with Perry and the Kids for a while. Next, we headed to the nearest Best Buy, where I (finally) found a copy of Green Lantern: First Flight… with the figurine. (More on this later.) I, however, completely forgot to look for a copy of The Middleman. Ah, well, another time.

Back home, SaraRules started in on dinner and I started in on today’s four-color crack. For tonight’s fare, SaraRules made maple chicken, cheesy potatoes, green beans and glasses of Novella Synergy Blanc. Dinner was, as always, quite delicious. During dinner we watched GL:FF. After that, SaraRules went back to work on our wedding quilt and I finished up my four-color shwag.

Reeling by on Celluloid
Green Lantern: First Flight, the latest release from DC Universe Animated Original Movies, is an adaptation of the origin story of the Silver Age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. The feature hits the ground running and, before the opening credits even roll, you’ve been introduced to Hal and two major supporting characters. Things don’t exactly slow down after the opening credits, either, as Hal meets Sinestro and three other Lanterns and is escorted to Oa, home of the Green Lantern Corps. The story doesn’t retell Hal’s first days as a GL entirely as recounted in comics, but that’s okay – the story that they do tell is a good one. The story makes the characters accessible to viewers who neither watched Justice League/Unlimited nor read the comic book and it even lends itself for more GL features down the road. As an added bonus, one of the special features on the disc is a preview of the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. Win-Win.

Four-Color Coverage

  • Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3 (of 3) – The final issue of this series tells the stories of Kilowog’s first mission as a Green Lantern recruit and also of the legacy that a veteran Lantern carries on. Possibly the best feature of the issue is “Blackest Night #0: Director’s Commentary.” In it, Geoff Johns, Adam Schlagman and Eddie Berganza give a running commentary of the zero issue of Blackest Night, given away on Free Comic Book Day.
  • Fantastic 4 #569 – The FF take on the Marquis of Death: Final Round. Fight! The Marquis dishes it out… can Marvel’s First Family take it? (Hint: They aren’t called “The Mediocre Four” or “The Just-Getting-By Four”). Readers also learn exactly what happened to Dr. Doom during his fight with the Marquis. Despite all of the action, I’d have to say that the best Thing in the issue is.. um… The Thing’s wedding. And the final page sums things up perfectly.
  • Justice Society of America #29 – This issue opens with a mystery… and reveals two more mysteries over the course of the story. Readers are also introduced to two new members of the JSA. Also, what’s going on with Mr. Terrific?
  • The Last Days of Animal Man #3 (of 6) – Buddy’s still losing his powers… but he doesn’t intend to just lie down and accept it. To this end, he enlists the aid of the League of Titans, an amalgamation of the JLA and the not-teen-anymore-Titans. Highlights of this issue are Buddy’s interactions with his family and their reactions to him – Gerry Conway does an excellent job of showing different sides of the family dynamic. There are also a couple nods to 52, as well.
  • Ultimatum #5 (of 5) – What’s left of the Fantastic Four, the Ultimates and the X-Men pay a call on Magneto. They intend to make him answer for the destruction he unleashed around the world. As fans of the Marvel 616 Universe might recall, the X-men and Magneto have had this dance before. It ended with Magneto leeching all of the Adamantium out of Wolverine’s skeleton. Will history repeat itself in the Ultimate Universe? Readers also learn the secret that Nick Fury’s been keeping from… well… everyone. And who’s going to be pulling the strings in the Ultimate Universe after the dust settles.
  • Wonder Woman #34 – Diana of Themyscira is now a woman without a family. Or a country. Or her gods. These things have shaped and defined Diana over the past few years. What will she do without them. She does what any warrior does: She survives. More than that, she endures. When she discovers that Genocide is still alive, Diana recruits Black Canary’s help to track down leads she needs to find her. Dr. T.O. Morrow shows… a softer side?! What’s that about?! Also, Achilles makes his first commands as… king… of the Amazons. My biggest gripe with the issue is Black Canary. Let me rephrase that: My gripe is with the way that Gail Simone wrote Black Canary. It felt… off. I would have expected something different, especially given the fact that Ms. Simone wrote Black Canary for years in Birds of Prey. *shrug* Maybe this was part of how she wrote BC in that book, but it came off in this title just feeling…wrong. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Stray Toasters


“Got you rushing headlong…”

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"Got you rushing headlong..."

Wednesday – 29 July 2009
It’s also Comics and Sushi Wednesday.

I got a call back from the dealership about my car late yesterday afternoon. They found the reason that the “Check Engine” light came on (a faulty Cam Shaft Position Sensor), which is a good thing. They also (FINALLY) found the source of the leak that I went in and asked about two weeks ago – you know, the one they said was the water pump – which, oddly enough wasn’t the water pump. *sigh* It was the Oil Filter Adapter. Ian, the service rep, told me how much the sensor would be… and, surprisingly, there was no sphincter tightening. Nice! Then he told me how much the adapter was. Tightening. Then I remembered how much the radiator hoses – custom parts! – were and realized that, as Freddie Mercury and Queen said:

There’s nothing you can
Nothing you can
Nothing you can do about it…

I asked SaraRules to pick me up a little early from work. I was “done.” We headed to the local Best Buy, so I could pick up the new Green Lantern: First Flight DVD. They had the single-disc version in the front display, but not the two-disc version… and there were absolutely none of the two-disc with figurine versions to be found, either.


Just put another nail in the coffin, why dont’cha? At that point, I was truly done. And all I wanted was to just go home. And we did. Rather than sit and fester over the state of things, I turned my attention and energy to cleaning out more things from the office. Using a couple of “creative location management” techniques, I was able to get rid of two large boxes from under the office table, completely clean out one of the sections in the closet bookcase and throw away some old/unnecessary things; thus bringing order (or a semblance of it) from the chaos (of my mood).

At least it wasn’t a Thursday.

Later in the evening, SaraRules and I went to the gym:

  • Pull-ups: 3 sets/10 reps
    • 1 set: unassisted
    • 2 sets: assisted (80 lbs)
  • Flys (dumbbell, incline): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Reverse Flys (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 10 lbs
  • Lateral Raises (dumbbell, with fly): 3 sets/10 reps, 10 lbs
  • Reverse Punches (dumbbell): 2 sets/20 reps, 10 lbs
  • Curls (barbell, standing): 3 sets/10 reps, 60 lbs
  • Sit-ups (decline): 3 sets/20 reps
  • Tricep Extensions (rope): 3 sets/15 reps, 80 lbs
  • Pilates Crunches (seated, V-position): 2 sets, 30 seconds

Weight (morning): 182.5 lbs

Hopefully, today will be ever-so-slightly better.

Stray Toasters


“Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down?”

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"Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down?"

Tuesday – 28 July 2009
Another day kicks off… with me taking my car to the dealership. The “Check Engine” light came on last night, so I figured that getting it looked at would be a good thing.

Yesterday, SaraRules and I headed to Utah County to get our engagement photos taken. I finally had the opportunity to meet Twila, our photographer; SaraRules had told me nothing but good things about her – from their first meeting and from her bridal photos. She was right. Twila was fun to work with and I’m looking forward to seeing how our shoot turned out.

Stray Toasters


“Doesn’t matter if you’re black or white…”

engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, geekery, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, news and info, politics and law, science and technology No Comments »
"Doesn't matter if you're black or white..."

Monday – 27 July 2009
Back in the saddle again…

Last night, after dinner (and Bocce) with SaraRules’ family, we headed home to wind down the weekend. SaraRules quilted; I worked on the second story of my ‘Clix building. I think that I’ve finally determined the best way to get the top to stay in place when the first story interior isn’t being used. I’ve also discovered that I’m looking forward to making a building using the Shellendrak Manor set, which allows for less unusable/unplayable space in building interiors. While we were working away at our respective crafts, we watched I Am Legend.

Today is SysAdminDay.  (At least, we’re celebrating it today, as people will be off on Friday – and we need something to make Monday less suck-tacular.)


Show your SysAdmin some love. Julie, our “Distinguished IT Admin,” came in with a box this morning. The box contained this:


Aww, yeah…

Stray Toasters


Sunday (not-so) Bloody Sunday…

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Sunday (not-so) Bloody Sunday...

Sunday – 26 July 2009
SaraRules and I did a little shopping yesterday. I picked up some new gym gear and a few pairs of shorts. Later in the evening, we hung out with shockpuppet, and others for Rib Fest last night. It was a lot of fun.

This morning was a lazy sleep-in day. I woke up and picked up American Psycho again. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten where I stopped reading, so I had to go back and cover about 10 pages again. Then, it was time for breakfast and the first three eps of Wolverine and the X-Men. And then…

…SaraRules and I went to the gym for a workout:

  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 185 lbs
  • Upright Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 60 lbs
  • Sit-ups (decline): 3 sets/20 reps
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/12 reps, 125 lbs
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/10 reps
  • Curls (dumbell, with shoulder press): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Tricep Press (T-bar): 3 sets/15 reps, 80 lbs
  • Lunges: 3 sets/10 reps
  • Core (plank, side): 3 sets/30 seconds

Weight: 184.5 lbs

Stray Toasters


“I just can’t believe all the things that people say… Controversy.”

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"I just can't believe all the things that people say... Controversy."

Saturday – 25 July 2009
For some reason, it feels like a Sunday morning. I can’t really put my finger on “why,” though. It might have to do with the abbreviated work week, but I don’t think that’s it. *shrug* Oh, well… I’m not going to spend too many cycles trying to figure it out.  Instead, I’ll enjoy the “extra” day of relaxation.

Rachel made it to town yesterday; she was stopping over on her way home to California. The s’mores brownies she’d requested were ready shortly after she arrived. Later, she, SaraRules and I went to dinner at Red Iguana; despite living in SLC for over 10 years, I had never eaten there before.  I had the Chimichanga Original with a side of Spanish Rice, both of which were very good.

After dinner, we met up with the usual suspects for Clitorati. Fortunately, sent out a message letting us know that Borders was closing early for Pioneer Day… because SaraRules and I went by Thursday evening to investigate any signs of an early closure and there were none. *shakes fist* So, when Borders closed for the evening, we headed to Barnes and Noble, instead. It was a good change of pace. It’s also a change that we might make a more regular occurrence.

This morning, SaraRules, Rachel and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of pancakes and eggs (fixed by Ms. ‘Rules). After breakfast, Rachel got back on her westward trek.

Stray Toasters


“Long live the Legion (of 3 Worlds)!”

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"Long live the Legion (of 3 Worlds)!"

Friday – 24 July 2009
It’s my 9/80 Friday.
It’s not even 8:30.
So, why am I wide awake? (written when it was still “morning” in Utah.)

Oh, well.

Last night, SaraRules and I had dinner with OnlyAly, , Stephanie and Jason at MacCool’s, an Irish(-style) pub, in Foothill Village. I had been there once before, but not for dinner. I ordered the Finn’s Fries (think “nachos,” then take a left – it’s made with potatoes, rather than tortillas) for an appetizer. Holy cow… They were incredible. I had the Pub Steak for my entree. I was a bit more disappointed here: I asked for it “medium-well,” it came out “medium-rare,” or as might say: “They threatened it with the flame.” They took it back and recooked it; while it did cook through, it made the outer layers a tad tougher. All-in-all, it was a good experience and I’d definitely go back again.

The evening was spent lazily lounging around. Nothing wrong with that.

Today is also Pioneer Day in Utah. (And Missouri and California, according to one joke I’ve heard.)

Stray Toasters
Stray Toasters are preceding Four-Color Coverage today. Why? Because I think that FCC may get to be “a bit” lengthy and I’m going to try using the never-seen-in-this-blog “MORE” tag. Or, for a shorter answer: “Because I can.” So, without further ado:


Four-Color Coverage
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these; hopefully, I remember how it goes. Since it’s been so long, I’m also going to cover some of the highlights from the past weeks, as well. With that in mind, I’m going to use the “MORE” tag to cut the bulk of the text. Hopefully, it will work as expected…

Read More �

“She’s a rainstorm, but she still builds monsoons.”

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"She's a rainstorm, but she still builds monsoons."

Thursday – 23 July 2009
Welcome to NBN Thursday/Technical Friday.

Last night, SaraRules and I watched High Noon. Both of us enjoy Westerns, but neither of us had seen it. (My father was even surprised when I mentioned that I hadn’t seen it.) After dinner, we settled in to watch it. The story revolved around Will Kane, Marshall of a small town named Hadleyville. On his last day as Marshall – and the day of his wedding – he learns that Frank Miller, the man who ruined The Spirit he sent to prison five years earlier, has been freed… and is coming back to town for vengeance. Marshall Kane has to decide between leaving town with his bride or staying to take on Miller and his cronies. Both SaraRules and I agree that it was an excellent film.

I also picked up yesterday’s four-color shwag. I’m planning on writing up a comprehensive Four-Color Coverage tomorrow – it will cover the last four or five weeks – but let me just synopsize as follows:

  • Green Lantern #44 – Wow.
  • Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (of 5) – Also “wow.” I’m looking forward to the restart of Adventure Comics next month.
  • Power Girl #3 – Fun.

Stray Toasters

Right on to the friction of the day…


“I’m just the Middleman.”

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"I'm just the Middleman."

Wednesday – 22 July 2009
Last night, after dinner, I crashed on the sofa for about an hour. Crashed. And the fact that I made it through dinner was a feat of willpower in itself. I was that tired. After waking up, I felt better and then proceeded to just lounge around for the rest of the evening.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
In a rare – but not unprecedented – instance, Craig Ferguson had a bit of a rant last night in his… pre-monologue:

Intersting… and rather insightful, too.

Stray Toasters

Tonight: High Noon, with Gary Cooper. (“Super duper…!”) 1


1 – Bonus points for anyone who can identify this reference.

Post-workout wrap-up

Council for Better Driving, everyday glory, workout No Comments »
Post-workout wrap-up

SaraRules, Marci, Wes and I met at the gym for a lunchtime workout. On the way to the gym, we passed a car in which a young woman and her baby were passengers. Wes made a comment that I think is perfect for a Council for Better Driving slogan:

Drive like you have a baby on-board.

He said that I was free to use it.

From there, on to the workout:

  • Lat Pulldowns – 3 sets/10 reps, 120 lbs
  • Rotary Lat pulldowns – 3 sets/10 reps, 85 lbs
  • Lateral Raises – 3 sets/10 reps, 10 lbs
  • Bent-over Rows (dumbbell) – 3 sets/10 reps, 10 lbs
  • Sit-ups (decline) – 3 sets/20 reps
  • Overhead Tricep Extensions – 3 sets/15 reps, 45 lbs
  • Side Bends – 3 sets/10 reps, 30 lbs
  • Plank – 3 sets/45 seconds

This morning’s weight: 183.0 lbs

For lunch, leftover chicken molé that SaraRules made the other night.

And, for my next amazing feat: Back to the grindstone.


“Billy the bookcase says hello…”

arts and leisure, cyberpunk/steampunk, dining and cuisine, everyday glory, family and friends, games, geekery, IKEA, movies and TV, music, news and info, politics and law, science and technology No Comments »
"Billy the bookcase says hello..."

Tuesday – 21 July 2009
Apparently, the seventeenth fourth time is the charm. The water pump is in and things seem to be as expected.

After getting the car, SaraRules and I went out to Hobby Lobby and IKEA. Our trip to the Garden of Sweden came after learning that a sofa we were considering, Varnamo,  had been discontinued; we went in search of a suitable alternative. We think that we found it in the KARLSTAD series.

Back at home, I finished up the first floor of my ‘Clix house… only to discover that the plan we’d come up with for the second floor wasn’t going to work. *sigh* Back to the literal drawing board. After moving a staircase here and a wall there, I think that things will pan out pretty well.

Stray Toasters