Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”

comics and animation, engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, family and friends, games, geekery, music, news and info, style, toys, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! 1 Comment »
"Snakes.  Why did it have to be snakes?"

Wednesday – 30 September 2009
The last day of September is rainy.
It’s noticeably cooler than the past week or so has been – today’s projected high is 56F.
And… AND… there’s a possibility of snow in the forecast.

But, on the bright side: It’s Comics (and Sushi) Wednesday.

Last night, I headed over to Chris’ to play HeroClix. Instead, we wound up chatting the evening away. (Which was just as good a way to spend the evening, in my opinion.) He also showed me Batman: Arkham Asylum and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, both of which looked good… but I’d be more inclined to pick up Alliance than Asylum at this point.

Stray Toasters


“Technical Thursday” Update

games, geekery, news and info, office antics, science and technology, style, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
"Technical Thursday" Update

Tuesday – 29 September 2009
Thank God it’s “Thursday.”
I wonder if I should impose standard NBN rules…?  I shall have to ponder this.

Happy Birthday to loonybin88:

Happy birthday to someone I hope doesn't hog all the swine flu vaccine

Last night, I did a little more work on my Cyclops ‘Clix. I broke out the modeling putty and went to work. It’s not my best work, but as SaraRules pointed out: I haven’t really tried sculpting anything before, so I can’t expect it to be “perfect” the first time out of the gate. True enough. As it is, I managed to Dremel/file/sculpt the “X” off of his costume and (most of) the cuffs from his boots and gloves.

(Pre-Dremel/file and sculpting image)

I’ve put a rough coat of paint on, to see how it will look. So far, not “hellish.” Again, not perfect, but it’s going to be alright. I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’m going to try and sculpt his belt an straps or just paint them on. We shall see. And, should I choose to do a “better-looking” figure in the future, well… in the words of Kool Moe Dee:

And if it’s weak when I’m done
Renovate and build another one
I go to work

‘Nuff said.

We just got back from lunch for loonybin88’s birthday. Famous Dave’s. Almost as food coma-inducing as Rodizio. Mmm…

Stray Toasters


“Monday, Monday…”

dining and cuisine, engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, family and friends, football, geekery, movies and TV, news and info No Comments »
"Monday, Monday..."

Monday – 28 September 2009
Today has been good, both at work and otherwise. I consider that an auspicious beginning to the week… especially considering how frenetic the week will become as Saturday approaches.

Speaking of Saturday, I met SaraRules at lunch and we went to get our marriage license. The whole thing took less than ten minutes, top to bottom. On the way back to the office, I stopped in at the in-laws-to-be for a few minutes, picked up a tasty burrito from Barbacoa and… AND… got a Slurpee!

Stray Toasters

Back to the grind.



dining and cuisine, engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, family and friends, football, games, movies and TV, quote of the day No Comments »

Sunday – 27 September 2009
Holy cow. This has been one helluva weekend. It has also reaffirmed my thoughts and feelings that I have an amazing fiancee and some equally amazing friends.

Saturday started with sleeping in. It was nice. SaraRules and I had planned on a relatively low-key day together, before the last week before the wedding. When we finally got in gear and out of the apartment, we headed to the Garden of Sweden and Hobby Lobby – we were looking for some picture frames (IKEA) and some ribbon for our wedding guest book. We found both. AND, we even had Slurpees! We eventually meandered back home. We straightened up a few things and chilled out before heading out to Tucano’s, a Brazilian steakhouse, for dinner.  Mmm… food-induced coma.

Then things went completely off the rails.

Around 6:00, when we were supposed to be leaving, there was a knock on the door. I looked out the peephole and thought I saw . Opening the door, I was more than “a little” shocked to see standing there, instead. Then he yelled, “Get ‘im!” and rushed in the door. He was followed by seven other people.

My first reaction: Fall into defensive mode and prepare to start throwing punches.

That’s when I noticed that loonybin88 was one of the people…

::: processing:::
::: processing :::
::: processing :::

It then clicked that I recognized the people and could stand down from preparing to fight, but I was still resistant to them trying to usher me out the door. (According to SaraRules, it apparently took four of them to push/pull me out.) As they got me out into the parking lot, looked at me and announced, “Welcome to your bachelor party!” As I was still in shock over the abruptness of what had just happened, the only thing that came to mind was:

“But I have dinner plans…”

Yeah. Brilliant. Because it hadn’t clicked in my head that my beautiful bride-to-be would have anything to do with me getting kidnapped and taken out for a surprise bachelor party. (Tricksy like a Hobbit, she is.) Apparently, she and had been planning this for weeks, once it became fairly public knowledge that I wasn’t planning on having a bachelor party. Their co-conspirators included: , and Chris S., , loonybin88, and Land.

We headed to Rodizio Grill, where , Chris (whom I play ‘Clix with) and SaraRules’ brother, Logan, joined us. While it wasn’t the quiet evening out with my fiancee that I was expecting, I enjoyed the deadly sin of Gluttony just as much. The food, as ever, was very good. The company was equally good.

After dinner, we piled into cars and headed to Fat Cats for some bowling and to shoot some pool. (And me without my bowling balls or shoes… *sigh*) According to Ye Olde Blog, I hadn’t been bowling since April 2008. Sad. We got in two games, I bowled a 170 and a 143; that wasn’t too bad, considering the lapse in time on the lanes. Next we played a couple hours’ worth of pool. There was a lot of slop, but we also had a lot of fun.

Next stop: and OnlyAly’s place for poker and drinking and general shooting the bull. We played until 0330 this morning. I bummed a ride home from Chris and Nox.

All told, I had an excellent game/geek-inspired bachelor party in the company of some great friends, to whom I can only say, “Thank you very much.”

Not too surprisingly, I slept in a bit on Sunday morning. I couldn’t sleep in very late, though, because it was the season’s first meeting between the Browns and the Ravens. We headed over to ‘s place, where Nox was already waiting. We also met a couple of ‘s friends, Christy and Clark… who were also Browns’ fans – we won’t hold that against them… much. Besides, it will be nice for to not have to drink alone for the next game. The Ravens brought their “A” game today, handing the Browns a 34-3 shellacking.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
3 – 34
Joe Flacco had another excellent week, posting 342 passing yards.

Let me repeat that, for those who missed it: Thirty-four to three. SaraRules, Nox and I did one shot, each, to ‘s seven. It was a beautiful thing.

After the game, SaraRules and I headed down to Kate and Perry’s; we were babysitting the kids this evening. Two of us… four kids… GO! Of course, watching the kids was a piece of cake. They started off watching a couple episodes of Lazy Town. (SaraRules noted that it will only be a few years before we are subjected to shows like this on a regular basis…) Next, they watched Next Avengers, which wasn’t too bad. We then fed the group and then sent the older kids to baths. We popped corn and let them watch Cars before sending them off to bed.

And now, it’s pre-Monday winding down time.

But, it’s been a great weekend.


“Look! Up in the sky..!”

everyday glory, geekery, movies and TV, news and info, politics and law, science and technology, travel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?!, workout No Comments »
"Look!  Up in the sky..!"

Friday – 25 September 2009
Another weekend draws to a close. It’s my “on” Friday.

The background image on my secondary monitor (the 42″ one at work) is this one:

Earth Horizon

I occasionally watch videos – usually concert video or Fantasia on it, as it’s off my normal workspace. A couple of days ago, someone made a comment about the image and I quipped back that I was just waiting for Christopher Reeve to fly by and smile at the camera. (It hasn’t happened yet.) And that got me thinking…

I haven’t watched Superman: The Animated Series in a long time. That’s doubly sad, considering that I own the DVDs. So, this morning, I went about righting that wrong: I have a small window set in the starfield of Desktop 2… playing Superman: TAS.  Current episode: “The Last Son of Krypton.”

Last night, I joined SaraRules and Melissa for a workout:

  • Calf Raises: 2 sets/10 reps, 120 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 2 sets/10 reps, 80 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 2 sets/10 reps, 80 lbs
  • Squats: 3 sets/10 sfdreps, 50 lbs (two 25 lbs weights, per hand)
  • Flys: 3 sets/10 reps, 110 lbs
  • Reverse Flys: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs
  • Reverse Punches: 2 sets/15 reps, 15 lbs
  • Sit-ups: 3 sets/20 reps
  • Tricep Extensions: 3 sets/15 reps, 70 lbs

Post-workout weight: 185.0 lbs

Stray Toasters


“…the youngest one in curls!”

everyday glory, geekery, movies and TV, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
"...the youngest one in curls!"


Just… plain… “Wow.”

This article, Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, was in the RSS feed from Boing Boing. I vaguely remembered the show from the late 70s… and this article piqued my curiosity. So, I clicked the link. It was innocuous enough. I passed the link along to some friends in chat:

[15:48] : This somewhat scares me… primarily because I vaguely remember the show: [the link]

As far as I was concerned, that was the end of the game. But, I was mistaken. (Second time this year…) took the ball and ran with it:

[16:05]  : http://www.bradyhour.com/media.html
[16:09]  : jesus
[16:09]  : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_XKUENgKPk

I clicked on the links. The first one wasn’t so bad; as the saying goes: “The first one is always free…” Then I clicked on the second one. That’s when the downward spiral began. After that, suggested that we (loonybin88 had been sucked into the morass, by this time) take a look at this link. Not even the combined might of the Six Million Dollar Man and one of Charlie’s Angels would be enough to save this one. I only made it about halfway through.

In a manner worthy of The Ring, I passed the link trail to shockpuppet:

[16:13] :  I’m sorry… but others must suffer too.  [links]
[16:14]  shockpuppet: Whoa.
[16:14]  : Yeah
[16:18]  shockpuppet: Really?
[16:18]  shockpuppet You get paid for this.
[16:22]  : Among other things, yes.

Um… yeah. I’d be happy not to have this part of my childhood back, thank you very much.

“I can see for miles and miles…”

comics and animation, dining and cuisine, engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, family and friends, games, news and info, office antics, science and technology, toys, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
"I can see for miles and miles..."

Thursday – 24 September 2009
Another NBN Thursday is under way.  This one has the added bonus of starting with frozen mocha goodness.

Last night, I picked up my four-color shwag and headed home to decide what to do about dinner, as SaraRules had a post-work meeting. I was thinking “ramen” about the time that she called to say that she was on the way home. Win-Win. So, rather than artificially-flavored Japanese noodles, we had soft tacos. After dinner, she headed out to meet Melissa at the gym; I went to Target – I needed some boxes so that I could ship some eBay auction items. Before heading home, I stopped in to visit .

Back at home, before watching The Late Show, SaraRules and I practiced our first dance. There have been a couple of modifications. Nothing too major, fortunately. And, our… mastery (?)… of the dance is coming along.

Stray Toasters


“Everyone’s a superhero, everyone’s a Captain Kirk…”

comics and animation, Council for Better Driving, engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, games, geekery, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, news and info, science and technology, style, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! 1 Comment »
"Everyone's a superhero, everyone's a Captain Kirk..."

Wednesday – 23 September 2009
Midweek and all’s well.

Today is… well… I’m not sure that it’s going to be Comics and Sushi Wednesday, as we have a coworker whose last day is tomorrow; I was invited to his going-away lunch, which will conflict with going to sushi. Of course, since SaraRules has a work-related function right after business hours, I am on my own for dinner. Maybe I’ll just go get sushi and comics a little later than usual.

For the first time in weeks, I felt like working on a couple of custom HeroClix figures. I’m still a little torn about what to do for Cyclops. I want to do a figure of him in his black Astonishing X-Men outfit – the original one, not what it’s morphed into in the past year or so. I’m not sure which figure I want to use for it – I ordered a couple of the ones from the Danger Room set, but they will require some surgery and modeling putty to make them look “just right.” Of course, I may just borrow the arms and torso from a spare Booster Gold, since his cuffs are right… then I’d have to find legs and add a little putty in the torso, again. We’ll see how this goes.

Stray Toasters

  • Thanks to everyone who responded to this post. If you haven’t responded – or if you have something else to add – please feel free to add comments.
  • Working cigarette lighter cufflinks
  • I’ve been a Superman fan for… well, let’s just say “a long time.” The 1978 Superman, starring the late Christopher Reeve, is still my #1 movie – a combination of it being a good movie and the memories attached to seeing it. I even enjoyed Superman Returns, warts and all. That being said, I was quite scared – and more than “a little” leery – when I heard that Tim Burton, hot off the successes of his Batman movies, was possibly being tapped to direct a reboot of the Superman franchise, based on a Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats) treatment, called Superman Lives (1, 2).

    *blink blink*

    Tim Burton. Superman. No, they do not go together like chocolate and peanut butter. His choice for Clark Kent was even more left-of-center: Nicolas Cage. Yes, THAT Nicolas Cage:

    Nicolas Cage, a comic book fan, signed on as Superman with a $20 million pay or play contract, feeling he could “re-conceive the character.” Peters felt Cage could “convince audiences he [Superman] came from outer space.” Burton stated it would be “the first time you would believe that nobody could recognize Clark Kent as Superman, he [Cage] could physically change his persona.”

    Yeah. Granted, after seeing a (relatively) slightly more serious Cage in The Rock, I was willing to give him a shot.. but I was still leery. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Mr. Cage’s work in some things (Ghost Rider!!!), but yeah.

    All of that to say this: Yesterday, a picture surfaced of Mr. Cage’s costume test. Not the Clark Kent costume, but the Superman costume. Click here to see it, if you dare.

  • FDA OKs First Human Trial of Neural Stem Cell Therapy
  • James May’s LEGO house is demolished
  • Photos of Edward Gorey’s house
  • Improv Everywhere strikes again: Subway Yearbook Photos
  • Utah Tackles Texting and Driving Problem Head-On
  • The next X-film: X4 or New Mutants
    (Personally, I’d go New Mutants.)
  • Church converted into magnificent bookstore
  • Two things that you probably never thought of putting together: Left4Dead Teletubbies mod
  • Andrei Condrescu: Growing Up the iPod Way


Advice for the Bride-to-be and Groom-to-be

engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, family and friends, food for thought No Comments »
Advice for the Bride-to-be and Groom-to-be

Here’s your chance to “get involved” in the wedding prep: We’ve started a new post on the engagement/wedding blog for “Advice for the Bride-to-be and Groom-to-be.”

We’re looking for… drumroll… advice for the Bride-to-be and Groom-to-be. (What? Did you think I was going to say mixed drink recipes?!) Instructions can be found on the page.

Have at it! And thanks!


“And, now, it’s time for the break down…”

dining and cuisine, everyday glory, office antics, workout No Comments »
"And, now, it's time for the break down..."

This morning’s meeting went well. It ran a little longer than planned, but we accomplished what we needed to.

Wes and I went to the gym for a brief workout today.  When we got to the weight bench, someone had left 275 pounds racked. I was tempted to try it, as I haven’t done a good attempt at a max in a while. So… I did. Bar came down. Bar went back up. Slowly, but it went up. I was happy with that; besides, I’m not sure that I would have gotten 300 pounds. As for the rest of the workout:

  • Sit-ups (incline): 3 sets/20 reps (with 5 extra reps on the last set)
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps – 225 lbs, 205 lbs, 185 lbs
  • Flys: 3 sets/10 reps, 110 lbs (10 second hold on last rep of each set)
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/12 reps
  • Curls (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Reverse Punch (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 10 lbs

Post-workout weight: 188.2 lbs

On the way back to the office, I stopped to pick up a Slurpee. And it’s been quite tasty, along with the pizza from Papa Murphy’s.

I should probably get back to the grindstone.


“…this must be Belgium.”

comics and animation, cyberpunk/steampunk, everyday glory, geekery, office antics, science and technology, style 1 Comment »
"...this must be Belgium."

Tuesday – 22 September 2009
It’s the first day of Autumn… and it surely felt like it this morning. It was 46°F when I got into the car. Where’d the warm weather go?!

The in-the-office morning kicked off in a good way, though: loonybin88 brought in bagels. Both a pleasant and unexpected way to start a Tuesday morning. And to kepp the flow going, this morning’s musical oleo included:

  • 112 – Dance With Me
  • Snoop Dogg – Undercova Funk
  • Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl
  • The B-52s – Love Shack
  • Billy Preston – Nothing From Nothing

Yep, good way to get the body moving first thing in the morning.  *nod*

And it’s a workout day, to boot.

Stray Toasters

And, now, it’s meeting time…


Maniacal Monday… Oh, wait, I think it’s supposed to just be “manic.”

arts and leisure, comics and animation, engagement/wedding/marriage, football, news and info, office antics, style, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?!, zombies No Comments »
Maniacal Monday... Oh, wait, I think it's supposed to just be "manic."

This morning, I actually got up when the alarm went off. The first one. That was an odd change of pace, considering that I haven’t been able to pull off that feat – on a weekday – in a few weeks. I was up, ready and out in relatively short order, too.

Once I got to the office, I hung some red and gold streamers around Julie’s desk and pinned my Florida State University sweatshirt to the wall above our dry-erase board. When she came down the hall and around the corner, the first thing I heard was,”You are such a nerd.” I took that as a compliment. (I’ve also managed to… not quite “offend”… other BYU fans around the office with the sweatshirt, as the streamers have already been taken down. Win-Win.)

Yesterday’s excursion to the State Fair was fun. SaraRules got to see quilts; I got to people-watch. We also checked out some really nice photography and crafts. It was a good way to spend the afternoon. Then it was off to the in-laws’ for football. We got there just before the last play of the Ravens-Chargers game.

Hey, Ray… Darren Sproles said the he could not only outrun you, but that he was going up the gut on 4th and 2 for the go-ahead touchdown and the win. What do you think about that?

Ray!  You got him and saved the win for the Ravens!  How does that make you feel?!

Yeah, me too!

Football Update

Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers
31 – 26
The Ravens headed into Qualcomm Stadium and took the spark out of the Chargers.

Phillip Rivers, being… well… Phillip Rivers, had yet another amazing outing, though: 436 passing yards. That’s just not right.


Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Hawks
10 – 28
Didn’t see it, but heard that it wasn’t a great showing for Carolina.


Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
13 – 10
Congrats, SaraRules!


Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
6 – 27
Sorry, .

Maybe your team will show up next Sunday when they head to Baltimore… maybe.


Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
34 – 20
Brett Favre and the Vikes gave the Lions yet another loss.
You know that’s gotta sting.



Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers
31 – 24
Congrats, and .

Stray Toasters

Back to it…


A birthday remembrance

everyday glory, family and friends, food for thought No Comments »
A birthday remembrance

Monday – 21 September 2009
Yes, it’s Monday.
Start of a new week.
The official last day of summer.

But, it’s not “just Monday.” It’s the 21st of September. Today would have been Jess’ 35th birthday.

It’s been four months since she passed away. Getting used to the fact that one of my best friends is no longer just a phone call away or won’t be coming out to a movie or coffee or dinner has been “a bit” of an adjustment.

I got to spend part of Saturday morning and afternoon with her parents and one of her sisters.  I’m glad that they’re part of my extended family, as you couldn’t ask for nicer people to spend time with.

As I’ve said before, there are many things that I could say about Jess. Rather than leave something out, I’ll summarize by saying that she was a good person to know, a great friend and that she’s sorely missed.

Happy Birthday.

Whirlwind Weekend, in recap

arts and leisure, engagement/wedding/marriage, everyday glory, family and friends, football, games, geekery, news and info, science and technology, workout No Comments »
Whirlwind Weekend, in recap

Sunday – 20 September 2009
The weekend is moving right along.
(Footloose and fancy-free…)
It has been busy and somewhat productive.

Friday afternoon, I went out and ran some errands and then hung out with for a while. We hadn’t just shot the bull in a long time, so that was fun. We also talked about getting together for next week’s Browns-Ravens matchup, which is always a good time. After that, I headed home for a bit before heading back out for Clitorati. Chris and Mary were at the cafe when we got there. And, Chris came bearing gifts! Again! (I tell you, it’s like Christmas in September!) This week’s goody: He brought the John Stewart ‘Clix he repainted for me:

This, of course, made for a rather happy me. More pictures of what he did can be seen here.

Yesterday (all my troubles seemed so far away…), SaraRules and I got up, hit Einstein Bros. and Beans & Brews, and then went to help move to her new digs. We loaded the moving truck and assorted vehicles and then we were off in the “Great Cross-Town Caper.” Okay, fine… it wasn’t really across town, but that sounds better that “Seven Mile Shuffle.” The whole operation took an hour and fifty minutes, top to bottom… and it covered me for this weekend’s workout.

After that, SaraRules and I went shopping and then met up with her parents to do a little wedding-related shopping, as well. Both trips, were productive.

Back home for a bit to eat, get clean and change, and we were on the road yet again. First stop: Reception dinner for a friend of the family who got married on Friday. After that, it was on to Abravanel Hall to see Cirque de la Symphonie. Simply put, it was an amazing show. Feats of jugging, contortion, aerial acts… all performed to classical music, all on-stage with the Utah Symphony. , who saw the show on Friday had said that it was “a very, very good time” and she was right.

Today, I’m heading over to Kate and Perry’s in a bit. I’m teaching their oldest how to play HeroClix, which he’s been wanting to learn for the better part of the summer. So, today’s the day. After that, SaraRules and I are heading to the State Fair for a while and then up to her parents’ for dinner and football.

Why are weekends so short?!


Stray Toasters

Up. Out.


Hello, weekend.

arts and leisure, comics and animation, everyday glory, games, geekery, movies and TV, news and info, science and technology No Comments »
Hello, weekend.

Friday – 18 September 2009
I slept in this morning. It was lovely.
I’ve been pretty lazy since then. That’s been nice, too.

While I haven’t quite become “addicted” to the Science Channel, I have discovered an affinity for a couple of shows: How It’s Made and Colossal Construction. On today’s episode of Colossal Construction, they were building “The Arctic Ice Crusher.” As the synopsis states:

The Arctic Shuttle Tanker: a revolutionary oil tanker and icebreak in one. The workers at Samsung shipyard in South Korea have four months to build and launch this ship, but equipment problems and work-site difficulties afflict even this efficient crew.

It was built in a floating drydock in Korea with a team from four countries… not all of whom spoke a common language. The ship is steered using two Azipods, propeller systems that can rotate – and thus apply thrust – 360 degrees. It was an amazing feat of engineering and human dynamics.

I have no idea what I’m doing with the rest of my afternoon, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

Stray Toasters

  • I have been recently introduced to the amusement (and fright factor) of: People of Wal-Mart
  • …which makes this comic all the more amusing: