Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“Get us out from under, Wonder Woman!”

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"Get us out from under, Wonder Woman!"

Wednesday – 30 June 2010
Today is Comics and Sushi Wednesday.

It is also the last day of June. That means that when the day is over, the year will be half over. It seems like it just started…

Last night, just after work, SaraRules and I had a surprise visit from her mother… and her grandparents. We knew that the grands were coming to town, but didn’t expect to see them until today. (Good thing that the house was fairly clean and straightened!) They were on their way home from dinner and, as we were on the way, they stopped in to see us. We sat around and chatted for a bit before they continued on.

A little later in the evening, SaraRules and I went to the Salt Lake Art Center for the opening of:

As described on the Salt Lake Art Center site:

As part of its summer programming, the Salt Lake Art Center is exhibiting Contemporary Masters: Artist-Designed Miniature Golf, 18 fully-playable works of contemporary art like you’ve never seen before. Contemporary Masters features original creations by top artists from Utah and around the nation that explore diverse ideas (the current immigration debate, the fragility of personal identity, and the meditative value of Donkey Kong) in equally diverse media, including woven fabrics, video installations, and shredded paper. Deftly exploring the intersection between art and play, Contemporary Masters reminds us that art can and should be a part of our everyday lives.

The exhibit runs all summer and the admission is free – the SLAC does accept donations in their lobby, though. Some of the holes are challenging, to say the least. It is a fun outing and a different way to look at – and experience – art.

When we got back home, SaraRules found Blindness – which was referenced in the article on dystopian 21st Century visions from Monday’s post – on Netflix’ Instant Queue. It was an odd movie. It started off with a man going spontaneously blind. The movie follows him – and others – as his affliction is visited upon others. Julieanne Moore stars as the lone protagonist who retains her sight, hiding this fact from those around her. This movie provides an interesting character study, as well as an interesting social commentary on how quickly things break down when the conventions to which we are accustomed no longer hold true.

Yesterday’s step count: 4,302

Stray Toasters


“Now, I’m here. (Now I’m here.) Think I’ll stay around, around, around, around….”

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"Now, I'm here. (Now I'm here.) Think I'll stay around, around, around, around...."

Tuesday – 29 June 2010

Another working day begins… although mine began a little later than usual. Since I wasn’t feeling 100% yesterday and last night, I decided to sleep in a bit this morning. And it was good.

Today is also, apparently, Camera Day.  With that in mind, here are a couple of shots from around the office:

Last night, SaraRules and I went to Citris Grill with the Pin-up Girl Espresso crew for a farewell dinner for Monica – one of the (former) baristas – who is moving to Oregon this week. I had the Wood Fired Chicken Breast, with roasted potatoes and green beans and a Guinness to wash it down. The food and the company were both quite good. Christy, another barista, attempted to put me on the spot at one point and asked: “Who makes the best frozen mocha?” I politely declined to answer. Hey, I don’t want someone putting “extra stuff” in my mochas from now on, because I said that someone else made a better mocha than they did. I might be a little crazy, but I’m not stupid. All told, it was a nice way to spend the evening… and we got to check out a new (to us) restaurant, to boot. Win-Win.

And, speaking of Pin-up Girl, Jim brought this back from Seattle over the weekend:

She’s a 1946 Pontiac. At some point, I’ll try to get some interior shots, too

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Foursquare

I’ve started… using/playing (?)… Foursquare. I would blame SaraRules, but I don’t like sleeping with one eye open. She has joked “There goes the marriage….” because I keep jockeying for her “mayor” position at Pin-Up Girl.

I’ve found Foursquare to be an interesting application/game. The “competition” of becoming mayor is kind of fun (and a bit silly, too), but the social aspects of the app are also interesting. For example: If you check in at a local haunt, Foursquare will notify your other Foursquare-unsing friends that you have checked in at Locatino X. That notification also includes the following: “Swing by and say hi!”  While that might not be the most appropriate thing to do, based on where a person is checking in, it is an easy way to set up impromptu gatherings – almost like a flash mob – if you’re heading to your favorite pub or coffee shop.

So far, it’s been fun. We’ll see how it goes.


Yesterday’s step count: 3,502

Stray Toasters


One more time…

everyday glory No Comments »
One more time...

Is this working yet?


everyday glory No Comments »

Seeing whether WordBook has undergone a rectal craniotomy or if I’ll have to crosspost by hand…


everyday glory No Comments »

Getting “ever-so-slightly” annoyed with WordBook…


everyday glory, geekery No Comments »


I’m just testing a couple of things with the cross-posting of  Random Access and Four-Color Coverage to Facebook.

Nothing really to see here.

“If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you’ll understand…”

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"If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you'll understand..."

Monday – 28 June 2010
Another work week begins. I’m trying to decide if it’s going to be a full 40-hour week or if it’s trending towards 36 or less. At this point, I’m feeling like the “36-” idea sounds pretty damned good.

I also feel like I really want to be over this sinus congestion. I’m not sure if it’s due to something that SaraRules brought back with her from California or due to the weather rollercoaster (of love! Say what?!) that we had here a week or so ago. Either way, hopefully Sudafed can keep me from looking like a Garbage Pail Kids throwback.

For some reason, I woke up this morning with Shawn Colvin’s Steady On running through my head. Good thing I like the song.

Yesterday, , and Matt came by for brunch… and to help me figure out what was wrong with the sprinkler system. It basically came down to the lawn care equivalent of a PEBCAK — As I never adjusted the solenoids on the valves for the system at the Taylorsville house, I never knew that they could be opened to help drain the system. Fortunately, and Matt knew this. A few twists of the screwdriver an not only did the waters flow, but there was actual, honest-to-goodness water pressure that went along with it! (The head in front of the sitting room windows looked more like a riot water cannon than lawn sprinkler… but at least it worked.) Thus, I’m making and Matt co-Humans of the Day for yesterday.

Later in the day, SaraRules and I went to see Knight and Day. Yes, I know… a lot of people think that Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise Crazy, but I don’t have a beef with the guy. In fact, despite my theory that many Tom Cruise movies were actually the same movie:

Young hotshot (fill-in-the-job title) is known for not playing by the rules.
He gets a reputation for being arrogant and/or reckless.
He is given (fill-in-the-task) and muffs it ~or~ he crosses the wrong person.
He struggles to make a comeback (Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years…).
He saves the day by the end of the movie.

…I found Knight and Day to be fun and entertaining; it was like a mix of “Mission: Impossible meets True Lies.”

And, just how many movies does the above formula work for?  Let’s see:

Just saying.

Anyway… the movie was fun and made for good lazy afternoon fare.

We wrapped up the day with dinner at the in-laws’ place and a movie, Shutter Island, which holds up as a solid film even on subsequent viewings.

Yesterday’s step count: 4,653

Stray Toasters

And that’s good for now.


Another Sunday in the valley…

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Another Sunday in the valley...

Sunday – 27 June 2010
This month has pretty much flown by.

Yesterday, SaraRules and I – along with her parents – went down to the Utah Arts Festival. Even for the third day of the event, the turnout seemed good. Aside from just wanting to attend the festival, we were also looking for some art with which we would decorate the house. No luck. Fortunately, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival will be around in about six weeks. We’ll see how our luck fares then.

On the way to the arts festival, we walked past a bar in which the World Cup match between the U.S. and Ghana was being shown. The game had just/recently ended as we approached the bar. A trio of patrons – two men and a woman – walked out, one of the men raging, “Fuck Ghana!” at the U.S.’ loss. I was tempted to go up to him and say “Some of my family is from Ghana…,” just to mess with him. Part of me now wishes that I had.

We watched Men Who Stare at Goats last night. I’m not really sure what I expected from the movie, but what I got was an enjoyable and rather entertaining film. It was witty and quirky, without going too far over the top. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that the movie was based on a book by Jon Ronson, an author whose work I enjoy.

Stray Toasters

is on his way over for bagels and coffee… and then to help me suss out what’s going on with the sprinklers.


Weekend: First Half

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Weekend: First Half

Saturday – 26 June 2010
It’s Technical Day Five of “Missa K. Week.”
(I didn’t post yesterday. Sue me.)

Belated Happy Birthday, Missa!

Thursday evening, SaraRules and I had an honest-to-goodness Date Night. We went to The Gateway and listened to jazz – courtesy of the Curtis Woodbury Quartet – at the water fountain plaza. That was followed by dinner at Thaifoon; I hadn’t eaten there in a few years… at least. The food was quite good. We followed that up with a stroll down the length of the shopping center and back. We also got to see all of the people in line to get a shiny, new iPhone 4. Back at home, I was eager to watch Burn Notice… but discovered that I didn’t have it set to record until the 1:00 AM showing. *BAH* Oh, well.

Friday was a good day off. I started by sleeping in. Next up: Mowing the lawn. That didn’t take too long, and it wasn’t too bad as I got out there before it got too hot. There are, however, some brown patches in the grass.

I finally turned the sprinklers on Wednesday or Thursday, only to discover a couple of things:

  1. There are dysfunctional sprinkler heads in the system.
  2. The previous owner appears to have hard-wired the system into power… somewhere.

Item 1 is somewhat expected, under the “These things happen…” catch-all.

Item 2, given some of the things we’ve discovered about the house, should have been somewhat expected, too. The reason I think power is hard-wired is that the controller doesn’t seem to turn off the sprinkler heads, so I have to turn the water on and off at the main valve.

After mowing, I came in, showered and changed and went to the farewell lunch for Marci. It was held at Porcupine Pub and Grill. After lunch, I thought I’d head down and say “Hi” to Perry.

Good intention.
Poor execution.

I missed a turn off of Wasatch Boulevard… and wound up in Draper. Not being one to pass up a random pilgrimage to The Garden of Sweden, I went to pay my obeisances. I found what I was looking for, took a few pictures of the items and their prices and then I was off. I drove downtown to say “Hi” to SaraRules. I showed her the items, we agreed on which one we liked and planned to go back later in the weekend to pick it up.

From there, I headed to The Train Shoppe. Randy, one of the employees, had been working on a park scene:

I managed to leave the store without buying anything. Again! I headed home and hung out until SaraRules got home from work. Later in the evening: Clitorati and dinner.

This morning, from the “We do more before 9 AM 10 AM than most people do all day” file, we helped a friend of OnlyAly and move. Then we stopped by ‘s for a minute and then came home for showers and preparations for our next adventure: We’re heading downtown to explore the Utah Arts Festival.

Thursday’s step count: 7,403 steps
Friday’s step count: 5,794 steps
Today’s count: 3,564 (as of 2:00 PM)

And that’s that.
For now, at least.


“It’s a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake…”

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"It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake..."

Thursday – 24 June 2010
And, I am sure that today is, in fact, Thursday.
Which makes it “NBN Technical Friday,” this week.

It is also Day Four of “Missa K. Week.”
Happy Belated Birthday, Missa.

(Seen here giving a preview of her stand-up routine from her upcoming Vegas show)

It’s also my friend, Danette’s, birthday.

And, according to Wikipedia, it is also The National Holiday of Quebec.

Last night, SaraRules and I met up with and her sister-in-law, Mauri, and attended the Cake Wrecks World Tour event at The King’s English and 15th Street Gallery.

Jen Yates, along with her husband, John, gave a 40-ish minute presentation about how the Cake Wrecks site came about and some of their processes for bringing the site to life. You could tell that there was some… if not “scripted” material, at least some talking points that have come up before… but they were also very candid and ad-libbed a bit, as well. Jen and John held a Q&A session following the presentation and also did a cupcake “Wreck-lication” judging contest. All-in-all, it was quite fun and entertaining.

SaraRules and I hit the gym last night:

  • Elliptical: 30 min/ ~5 MPH (avg.)
  • Leg Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs
  • Calf Raises: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs
  • Leg Raises (Roman Chair, full extension): 3 sets/15 reps
  • Upright Rows (barbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 50 lbs
  • Curls (barbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 50 lbs
  • Tricep Extensions (rope): 3 sets/15 reps, 50 lbs
  • Plank: 3 sets/30 seconds

Yesterday’s step count: 8,903 steps

Post-workout weight: 181.3 lbs

Stray Toasters

…and I blame for the title/subject line of this post.


“Rag Doll, livin’ in a movie…”

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"Rag Doll, livin' in a movie..."

Wednesday – 23 June 2010
It’s Comics and Sushi Wednesday.
It’s also Day Three of “Missa K. Week”

Happy Belated “Third Time’s the Charm” Birthday!

Seen here in her role as a rookie Green Lantern, saving a small dog-child
(or possibly Muffit, from Battlestar Galactica) from untold danger…

Last night, I got together with Chris, Jeremiah and Michael to play… dun dun dunnnn… HeroClix. We paired off into two teams: Chris and me (running S.H.I.E.L.D. and Checkmate teams) against Jeremiah and Michael. running Green Lanterns, along with Dr. Doom and Apocalypse. We decided to go with 500-point teams (per player) and the Modern Age rules; the game ran from… 8:30 or 9:00 until a little after 11:00. In the end, Chris and I won — my team took a beating, some of Chris’ figures took a few clicks of damage.

This morning, I woke up with the comforting thought that the work week was almost over in my head. This made me smile. Shortly after getting out of the shower, I had an apostrophe epiphany: Today was Wednesday, not Thursday. Coming to that realization was “a little bit” of a downer.

Stray Toasters


“Diamonds are forever…”

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"Diamonds are forever..."

Tuesday – 22 June 2010
It’s Day 2 of “Missa K. Week” here at Random Access:

Belated Happy Hatching Day (twice removed), Missa!

(See that blur where her left had should be?  Yeah.  She’s THAT fast.)

Last night, SaraRules and I went to the gym. That’s right… the gym.  We did a light “getting back into the swing of things” workout:

  • Elliptical: 5 min/5 MPH (avg.)
  • Leg Raises (Roman Chair, full leg extension): 3 sets/15 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps, 135 lbs.
  • Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs
  • Shoulder Press (seated, dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 30 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Tricep Kickbacks (dumbbells): 3 sets/10 reps, 15 lbs

Yesterday’s step count: 7,168 (as of 23:00)

Post-workout weight: 182.9 lbs.

Stray Toasters

Time to get on with the gettin’ on.


“Summer… summer… summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.”

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"Summer... summer... summertime.  Time to sit back and unwind."

Monday – 21 June 2010
Today is the Summer Solstice.

It seems that I have been remiss with something. And I’d like to take a moment to address the issue:

I usually post some sort of greeting to friends and family in here for their birthdays. It appears that I have neglected to include my sister-in-law’s birthday last week.

In fact, she had apparently been expecting to see… some acknowledgement here… but, well… she got bupkis. And was “a little” shocked by it.

Yeah, I know! Well, at least, now I know now. (She mentioned it to SaraRules on Friday and she also mentioned it to my in-laws… who told me yesterday.) This isn’t to say that I forgot her birthday. I didn’t — I was one of the first people to post a birthday greeting on her Facebook page. (Hey, I may be an occasionally forgetful brother-in-law, but I’m not a complete jerk.)  Besides, it’s not a good idea to tick off the family member who knows how to fight with swords and tomahawks, especially when you’re going to be spending a week in the middle of nowhere camping with them soon. Just saying.  It’s just that I… neglected… to say anything about it in my most public forum.

And with that in mind, I hereby declare this week: “Missa K. Week.”  That’s right. All Missa. All week.
(What?! Me?  Overkill?! Never.)

someecards.com - Happy belated birthday to someone who now has free rein to forget mine

Happy Belated Birthday, M!  🙂
I hope that you had fun playing pirate this weekend!

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog entry, already in progress…

Yesterday was good. We did go to The Garden of Sweden. We picked up a couple of lamps and a few other assorted items… and spent more money than we had originally intended. But, they were necessary items. After IKEA, we headed to Home Depot. And, with those two stops, our living room and dining rooms are now finished.

We wrapped up Father’s day with dinner at the in-laws’. And there was bocce. And brownies. And mojitos. Amen.

Yesterday’s step count: 5,143

Stray Toasters

On to it…


Another Pleasant Valley Father’s Day…

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Another Pleasant Valley Father's Day...

Sunday – 20 June 2010
It’s Father’s Day. With that in mind, I’d like to wish a very Happy Father’s Day to the fathers in my family:

Today’s “Human of the Day” award goes out to these guys.

Yesterday was a good day.  It started with a trip to the Downtown Farmer’s Market with SaraRules and the in-laws. They’ve expanded the market a bit, so that it now takes over all of Pioneer Park. Of course, that moved the “fringe” artisans from the area at the south end of the park to the adjacent corners and streets.

Next, I headed up to Dr. Volt’s to run another HeroClix tournament. The format was the “HeroClix Wrestling Federation,” in which players had six figures, up to specific point values, and played them tag-team style against another player’s six-figures — when a figure took damage, the player rolled a six-sided die to see which other figure “tagged in.” It is always a fun format to play, and is pretty well-received by the players. I even got a chance to play — the bye rounds, but still… I got to play.  I went with a Sinestro Corps-themed team:

  • Yellow Lantern

    (gallery aa-figure-044)

  • Scarecrow

    (gallery bn-figure-003)

  • Sinestro

    (gallery cr-figure-055)

  • Sinestro Corps Batman

    (gallery aa-figure-100)

  • Parallax

    (gallery cd-figure-219)

  • Superman Prime

    (gallery aa-figure-060)

After the tourney, SaraRules and I went out for a bite to eat and then headed downtown to check out the 2010 Utah Foster Care Chalk Art Festival.  We arrived too late to see Team Chalkolicous in action, but we still strolled through and took a look at all of the pieces that people did over the course of the event: Pictures here.

Later in the evening, we finally got around to seeing Kick-Ass. It was quite fun and, as I recall, it adapted the source material fairly well… with a couple of changes.

This morning, I woke up and strolled up to Pin-Up Girl Espresso.  Christy fixed me an Iced Caramel Silk, which was quite good. Shortly after I got back home, the in-laws dropped by to chat for a bit while out running errands. Then, breakfast — Blueberry muffins FTW!!!!

Next on the agenda: A trip to The Garden of Sweden and maybe even a home improvement store or two.  Win-Win!

Yesterday’s step count: 6,517

Stray Toasters


“Friday I’m in Love”

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"Friday I'm in Love"

Friday – 18 June 2010
It’s almost the weekend. Hallelujah.
And, for the record: I’m in love on the other days of the week, too.

Yesterday was delightfully NBN-tastic. I couldn’t have asked for a less-bothersome day if I tried. As an added bonus, I went to lunch with coworkers to celebrate someone’s birthday. We went to The Dodo. I had their French Dip Sandwich, with a salad and their sinfully delicious Caramel Coffee Cake for dessert. Talk about “food coma-inducing.” After work, I hung out with Perry for a bit before meeting SaraRules for dinner. The night wrapped up with the new episode of Burn Notice.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
Let’s hear it for stepfathers, too

This is a timely and poignant article. I had feelings similar to Justice Sears’ children when my mother first remarried. I was never a really outwardly rebellious kid, but there were often thoughts of “But, he’s not my father…” in the back of my head. And, I know that it caused “a few” odd looks when I would introduce people to “…my Mom and dad… and my mom and dad,” when both sets of my parents would show up at events.

Over the years, I’ve come to not only accept my stepfather, but to appreciate and love him. This isn’t to say that we haven’t had our disagreements — that’s the occasional nature of parents and their children, but he has been a good husband to my mother, a good father to my sister (and myself) and an all-around good man to our family.

If you are part of a blended family, please don’t forget to take some time to call your stepfather, too, this Father’s Day.

And, now it’s time for the breakdown…
Today’s music mix – that’s right, today you get variety – includes songs that celebrate the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend:

Yesterday’s step count: 3306

Stray Toasters

…right on to the friction of the day.