Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Hurry up… and wait.

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Hurry up... and wait.

Friday – 30 July 2010
It’s (almost) the end of the work week. Amen.

We’re in the middle of a network transfer – switching from one network connection to another. It made for a long day yesterday and an early morning today. I just hope that it’s not another long day today.

Ironically, today is also Sys Admin Day.


Thursday’s step count: 4,647

Stray Coasters


“Down at the station, early in the morning…”

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"Down at the station, early in the morning..."

Thursday – 29 July 2010
Good NBN Thursday to all.

I spent the day in the south office yesterday. That’s always um… a treat.  We’ve been preparing for some network changes and I went down to help Minion #1 take care of the wiring for that office. And, I did manage to squeeze in sushi for lunch with a few coworkers.

After work, I hauled back up the road and swung past Dr. Volt’s. (There was four-color goodness to pick up, after all…) I made a couple of quick side trips and then went to Hastur Hobbies for D&D night with Jack and . This week, they even brought little Jack:

Tuesday’s step count: 6,758
Wednesday’s step count: 4,207

Stray Toasters


“Something in the water does not compute…”

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"Something in the water does not compute..."

Tuesday – 27 July 2010
Work week: Day 2.
I had an extreme case of “the lazies” this morning.  In an uncharacteristic move for me (at least for a workday), I gave in to it. And, I have to say: It felt rather nice.

Last night, SaraRules had a Justice Junior League meeting after work, which meant that I was a dinner bachelor. The “up” side to this: I could have Chinese food for dinner. (Win!) I pinged former coworker Marci, to see if she wanted to spare me from dining alone; she was kind enough to agree.  We went to David’s Kitchen. I hadn’t been in many, many moons. I had the Beef Lo Mein, with potstickers and an egg roll; the food was as good as I remembered.

This morning’s musical interlude is brought to you by the letters “H” and “L” and the number “2”:

Monday’s step count: 5,628

Stray Toasters


“Ceiling unlimited, sky so wide…”

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"Ceiling unlimited, sky so wide..."

Monday – 26 July 2010
It’s the beginning of another fun-filled work week.

Today would have been my great-grandmother’s birthday, as well. One of the best stories about my great-grandmother also involves Sib-2 and a Power Wheels truck; nearly 30 years later, it still makes me laugh.

Even though it was a three-day weekend, it still seemed far too short. The highlights of the weekend included:

  • A trip to End Zone with Perry and the kids
  • Hanging out with the coolest wife ever.
  • Helping the coolest wife ever redo the planter bed in front of the house.
  • Seeing Inception
  • Playing City of Heroes for the first time in far too long…
  • Playing LEGO Batman for the first time in far too long…
  • Hanging out with the Pinup Girl Espresso crew
  • Seeing The Book of Eli
  • Watching Burn Notice

This morning’s musical selection: Orgy – Opticon

Chew on This: Food for Thought
Today’s thought comes from an unknown source:

We all have it within ourselves to rise from feelings of complete hopelessness to a state of renewed strength, clarity, understanding and peace.


  • Friday’s step count: 5,700-something
  • Saturday’s step count: 4,200-something
  • Sunday’s step count: 2,650

Stray Toasters

  • SaraRules has a meeting tonight, which means that I’m a bachelor for a few hours. I think that this calls for Chinese food.  Anyone care to join me?
  • Jane Austen’s Fight Club
  • Footloose came on the radio during the morning commute.  Whenever I hear the song, it reparses in my head as:

    Juice! Fruit juice!
    Or Kool-Aid, if you choose.
    Juice box, please! Or Capri Suns to squeeze!
    It’s a fact: Welch’s Grape is like crack!
    Juice! Fruit Juice!
    Everybody drink… Everybody drink…
    Everybody drink… Everybody drink…
    Everybody drink… Everybody drink… Everybody….
    Everybody drink fruit juice!

  • The Other Bomber Girls
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood comes out tomorrow.
  • Namaste.

“It’s Five o’Clock Somewhere…”

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"It's Five o'Clock Somewhere..."

Friday – 23 June 2010
It’s the weekeeeeeeeeend, baby!
Hello, 9/80 Friday off.  I’ve missed you.

I’m not a big modern Country Music fan, but Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet sum up my attitude about the weekend in this song:

Last night, SaraRules and I went to Park City to see Imani Winds perform as part of the Deer Valley Music Festival. It was, simply put, fantastic. Seeing musicians of color – and especially African-American artists – performing classical music is still somewhat rare… or at least uncommon. Seeing five of them perform together, even more so. But, this quintet is an excellent group of performers. It was very easy to see that they not only enjoyed their jobs, but they enjoyed playing with the others in the group, as well.

Something that SaraRules and I noted: It was interesting that even though flautist Valerie Coleman appeared to act as conductor/timekeeper for the group, there was no real “leader,” so to speak.  Everyone had a part to play – including some lovely solos – and each of the members took a turn at presenting a piece of music.

Their performance consisted of modern compositions, two of which were written by members of the quintet. I enjoyed first half of their performance, but the second half was the stand-out half for me. The performance closed with a klezmer piece that had been arranged for wind quintet and featured clarinetist Mariam Adams, who completely knocked it out of the park.

If Imani Winds perform in your area and you have a chance to hear them, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Thursday’s step count: 3,507

Stray Toasters

Time to hit the road, so I can hang out with Perry and the kids for a while.

I might even swing by Pin-up Girl for a morning pick-me-up…


TRON: Legacy Trailer

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TRON: Legacy Trailer

I’ve been curious (and cautiously optimistic) about this movie for the past few months.  Disney has given another sample of what’s to come in this latest trailer:

“…and a beer (in a tree!)”

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"...and a beer (in a tree!)"

Thursday – 22 July 2010
It’s NBN Thursday/Technical Friday.  Amen.

And, just because I can, today’s musical selection: U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Last night, SaraRules and I went to MacCool’s Public House for ‘Evening with Guinness,” a dinner featuring not only Guinness, but foods prepared with Guinness:

John Baxter and Kevin Fitzgerald both talked a little about the history of Guinness and their other beers – Smithwicks (pronounced “smith-icks”) and Harp – and some of their distribution channels, as well as a soon-to-be-released-in-the-U.S. beer.

Sweet, merciful Jesus… It was a sublime meal. All of the courses – and their accompanying beers – were excellent choices and were wonderfully prepared. I’m not usually a fan of onion soups, but the Four-Onion Soup Medly was fantastic. The steak… oh, the steak… was simply amazing.

Our tablemates were rather fun, too: We sat with three other couples, one of whom was the owner of MacCool’s, Scott. He was especially interested to find out that we’d heard about the event from their Facebook page. We talked about sports.  We talked a little about our jobs. We talked about the event and dinner. It was an all-around good time.

The next MacCool’s event is a dinner featuring beers from Epic Brewing, on Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010.

After we got back home, we watched The Ruins. I kept thinking of it as “Little Shop of Horrors meets Tomb Raider,” but without all of the excitement. While there were a couple of surprises – and one scene that I totally didn’t see coming – but it wasn’t really “scary.” In an amusing note, I kept looking at Joe Anderson (whom I best remember from Across the Universe, but was apparently also in The Crazies) and thinking that he was Ben Foster (Pandorum and X-Men: The Last Stand). But he wasn’t.  Although… Shawn Ashmore, who played Iceman in the X-Men movies, was in the film.

Yesterday’s step count: 3,200

Stray Toasters


“Some people call me the space cowboy…”

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"Some people call me the space cowboy..."

Wednesday – 21 July 2010
It’s Comics (and maybe Sushi) Wednesday.  ‘Nuff said.

Despite having most of the things I needed for this morning prepped and ready-to-go last night, I managed to walk out the door without my ID badge. I didn’t discover this fact until I was in the elevator.

::: facepalm :::

I was able to get into the office, thanks to a coworker. And, I acquired my badge thanks to the world’s most awesome wife ever dropping it off on her way to work.

Last night, SaraRules and I went to The Days of ’47 Rodeo. (It’s a Utah thing.) Let me break it down for you:

Put the two together and you get: The Days of ’47 Rodeo.
SaraRules is a rodeo fan and has been for some years.
Until last night, I had only seen bits and pieces of rodeos on television.
We went. And I have pictures to prove it.

Tonight, we are going to MacCool’s Public House for Guinness Dinner, featuring dishes made with Guinness.

Tuesday’s step count: 3,900

Stray Toasters


“I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day!”

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"I don't want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day!"

Tuesday – 20 July 2010
Day Two of the work week is upon us.

Last night, SaraRules and I fixed jambalaya for dinner. It had been a few months since we’d made any. It was tasty. After that, we headed up to the Kohl’s in Brickyard (the Kohl’s that I always seem to forget is there) so that I could find a few new shirts. After that it was back at home for…

Yard work time!

When the grasses and weeds had been tamed, it was time for a shower and unwinding in front of the TV for a bit. Property Virgins and James May’s Toy Stories set the evening off nicely.

Tonight, SaraRules and I are getting in touch with our inner cowboys/rednecks – or, as it’s part of the “Days of ’47” celebration, our ‘inner pioneers’ – and going to the rodeo. Tonight is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Night, with the proceeds going to support breast cancer awareness… and was the primary reason for last night’s Kohl’s excursion – I needed a pink shirt that wasn’t a dress shirt. It should be an interesting way to spend the evening.

Monday’s step count: 4,530

Stray Toasters


Weekend recap

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Weekend recap

Monday – 19 July 2010
Another work week begins.
It’s sunny and warm… on its way to being “hot” later today.

This past weekend was quite good. Saturday, I wound up going back to GEEX and hanging out to run a few more demos. One of the guys who played a demo game on Friday – and dropped a sizable chunk o’ change on ‘Clix right after – came back Saturday and bought even more! And, after running into a Zatanna cosplayer on Friday, I ran into a Harley Quinn (from the Batman: Arkham Asylum game) cosplayer and a friend on Saturday:

A little before I was ready to leave the expo, I got a few notifications of a possible problem at work.


It turned out not to be a problem, just a situation that needed (a lot of) monitoring. I wound up getting alerts about it from roughly 3 PM until just after 11 PM, which meant that I was getting alerts during…

…the Ben Folds concert at Deer Valley.

(hanging out with 5,000 of my closest friends, waiting for Ben Folds and the Utah Symphony)

The concert was fun; it was roughly two hours long, with one encore. (Only one encore, which was unfortunate, because I was waiting to hear a song that was later in his encore set.)  I also ran into Derek, thanks to the joys of Foursquare. (Turns out that another coworker was there, as well, but we didn’t see her or her husband.)

Sunday, we slept in. Selah. After breakfast – I made blueberry muffins – we went to the gym. Back home for a shower and change of clothes. Then we were off to run some errands before our impromptu ice cream social! I found out earlier in the day that it was National Ice Cream Day and figured that was a good – or at least “good enough” – reason to invite people over for a little get together. And it was. To wind up the evening, SaraRules and I watched The Crazies, the recent remake of the George Romero film of the same name. It was entertaining. There were some plot holes. There were some gaffes. But, all-in-all, it was decent.

Sunday, SaraRules and I hit the gym:

  • Elliptical: 22 minutes/ 5.5 MPH (avg.)
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/10 reps
    • 2 sets @ 135 lbs
    • 1 set @ 155 lbs
  • Shoulder Press (seated, dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 40 lbs
  • Flys: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs

Saturday’s step count: 5,490
Sunday’s step count: 1,0707

Stray Toasters

  • The razor’s edge of having a new phone:
    • I love the new phone and finding ways to customize it and just… play around with it.
    • Having an 8 megapixel camera – with integration into Facebook – makes it FAR too easy to take random pictures and upload them to the Interwebs.
  • I’ve become quite a fan of Foursquare, which I discovered by way of SaraRules. I like its social media gaming aspect, as well as the fact that it can be used as a way to form impromptu gatherings. It’s available for Android, iPhone and Blackberry phones. Another neat feature is that some businesses offer specials to Foursquare users. Check it out.  What have you got to lose?
  • Smithsonian’s Spacesuits: Number One on the Runway
  • I often post strips from Evil, Inc. in here.  Another light-hearted and fun superhero comic that I enjoy is Love and Capes, by Thom Zahler.  It follows the adventures of Mark (an accountant… who is secretly The Crusader) and his now-wife, Abby (a bookstore owner).

    The series rarely shows superheroics, instead choosing to show character interactions, with the action happening off-panel. Love and Capes has recently been picked up by IDW Publishing for print, with the first issue hitting stands in December.  If you’re looking for a fun read, this is a great way to go.

  • Take a Walk with “The Walking Dead”
  • Jersey Numbers Assigned
  • By way of Nyx: Dear Girls Above Me


Freaks and GEEX

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Freaks and GEEX

Saturday – 17 July 2010
I slept in this morning. All the way until nearly 8:30. I was proud of myself. Of course, having a long day yesterday and needing the rest didn’t hurt, either.

After taking a half-day off at work, I went home and met SaraRules – who also had a half-day. We went to Pawit’s Royale Thai for lunch. The food was very good, as usual. After that, and a quick stop at Pin-up Girl, we came home so that I could grab my gear and head down to the Gaming & Electronics Expo (GEEX) at the South Towne Exposition Center. I ran a few HeroClix demos for Dr. Volt’s – here were a lot of people who asked questions about the game and I had three-and-a-half demo games for the truly interested. It went well. I also saw a cosplayer dressed as Zatanna:

Apparently, only Jeremiah (one of the Dr. Volt’s employees) and I were the only ones who recognized who she was.

After the expo, I met up with the Clitorati gang for coffee and dinner.

Friday’s step count: 5,407

I think that SaraRules and I are going to hit the gym again tomorrow.

Stray Toasters

  • Ben Folds with the Utah Symphony. Tonight. Deer Valley.
    (Being married to someone who works for Utah Symphony-Utah Opera has its perks!)
    I believe that there are still some tickets available for the event.
  • I managed to get out a new Four-Color Coverage post this morning. Finally.
  • There are probably a ton of ‘Toasters I could post, but I’m feeling lazy. So, check back tomorrow.


“It’s the freshest move I’ve ever seen… like he was floatin’ on air!”

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"It's the freshest move I've ever seen... like he was floatin' on air!"

Friday – 16 July 2010
It’s (almost) the weekeeeeeend, baby! While this hasn’t been “Longest. Week. Ever,” it has been a long week. I’m pretty sure that it has something to do with last week being a three-day work week… but that’s just a hunch.

Last night, Melissa – our friend who did the 5K with us last weekend – came over and she, SaraRules and I watched Shutter Island. (M had never seen it.) I caught a few very subtle things throughout the movie that I missed the first… two times I saw it. And it was just as solid a film this time as the other times I’ve seen it.

I woke up this morning with snippets of this running through my head. I blame it on the cartoon/kids’ show theme war that I had with Kris a couple of days ago. And, speaking of music, today’s musical selections are:

Utah Saints – Something Good ’08

George Michael – Flawless (Go to the City)

After work this afternoon (Hellooooooo, half-day!), I’ll be running either a demo or a mini-tournament for Dr. Volt’s at the Gaming and Electronics Expo (GEEX) at the South Towne Expo Center.  The demo/tourney should start about 4:00 PM.  If you’re free and in the area, come down and check it out.

Thursday’s step count: 2,054

Stray Toasters


“I’m on a horse.”

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"I'm on a horse."

Thursday – 15 July 2010
It’s another sunny NBN Thursday here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain. It’s going to be a hot one, too — temps are supposed to be in the mid-90s. (At least it’s a “dry” heat.)

This morning’s musical break: ABC by the Jackson Five

Yesterday, pinged me to see if I was interested in playing in a D&D game that Jack is running at Hastur Games and Comics. As it was SaraRules’ book club night – and I was going to be relegated to the basement anyway – I said “Sure.” And off I went to nerd! This was new and different for me for two reasons:

  1. It’s a 4th Edition game (I had previously played v2.0 through 3.5)
  2. It’s a Dark Sun setting, which is a world that I’ve not played in before.

We ran two encounters; there are two more left in this chapter, I believe. (Nyx: I’m running a half-tiefling.) It was fun and a bit different, as this was more of a miniatures game than the role-playing style of 3rd Edition and earlier.

Back at home, SaraRules and I watched a short movie, Vampire Hunter Hank, that her friend Jerry made. It was pretty funny.  And entertaining, to boot.

Yesterday’s step count: 3,940

And… my sides still hurt from the other night’s workout.

Stray Toasters


“C” is for Cookie… I mean “Coffee,” that’s good enough for me!

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"C" is for Cookie... I mean "Coffee," that's good enough for me!

Wednesday – 14 July 2010
It’s Comics (and possibly Sushi) Wednesday.

Today is also Bastille Day.
(Rush fans, click here.)

Last night, SaraRules’ mom came over and joined us for dinner. SaraRules fixed a nice vegetarian curry over rice. We talked about books and movies (Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus!) as we ate.  After dinner, SaraRules and I headed to The Garden of Sweden — I needed to pick up more picture frames. On the way home, we saw Jim from Pin-up Girl, as he was closing up shop, so we stopped and chatted for a few minutes.

We also… went to the gym! I was on the fence about going, but I knew that it would be good for me. Last night’s routine included:

  • Elliptical: 5 minutes/5 MPH (avg.)
  • Kickbacks: 3 sets/10 reps
    • 1 set @ 50 lbs
    • 2 sets @ 70 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 125 lbs
  • Reverse Fly: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs
  • Reverse Punches (dumbbell): 2 sets/20 reps, 10 lbs
  • Side Bends: 3 sets/10 reps, 20 lbs
  • Tricep Extensions (rope): 3 sets/15 reps, 70 lbs
  • Core (plank): 3 sets/30 seconds

Yesterday’s step count: 5,940 steps

Stray Toasters


“We’ve secretly replaced this preschool’s chocolate milk with Jolt Cola. Let’s see what happens…”

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"We've secretly replaced this preschool's chocolate milk with Jolt Cola. Let's see what happens..."

Tuesday – 13 July 2010
Today is apparently “Embrace Your Geekness” Day.
I’d never heard of it before this morning. *shrug*

Last night, SaraRules and I had dinner at Epic Casual Dining, in Midvale. We had talked about going there a few times, but had never managed to actually go. It bills itself as “One of the Salt Lake Valley’s finest restaurants.” I think this might be a bit of an overstatement. That’s not to say that the food wasn’t good – it was – but, I can think of a few “finer” restaurants off the top of my head. Would I eat there again, yes. Would it necessarily be at the top of my list the next time I’m looking for someplace to dine out? No… it would be somewhere in the middle to lower-middle.

After dinner, and a quick stop to say “Hi” to Kate and Perry, we went to Quilts, Etc., so that SaraRules could pick up a pattern block. I am Ivory Soap-sure that the place is a tesseract, because there is no way that the store could be as large as it is inside without employing extradimensional space. No. Way.

After that, we made our way up to the Toys ‘R’ Us in Murray. Why? Well…

  1. …because it’s Toys ‘R’ Us.  (Duh.)
  2. …because Kate mentioned that they had a different LEGO figure in the store than the one in Sugar House:

Captain Rex
(Imperial Clone Trooper, from Star Wars)

We wandered around the store for a few more minutes, looking at other things, too. SaraRules found this gem:

That’s right: Miss Astronaut Barbie (1965).

After our excursion, we headed home. We wrapped up the evening watching the most awesome thing that we could find on Netflix’ Instant Queue, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

That’s right. A movie so awesomely bad that we were compelled to watch it.

The power of Mega Shark compels you!
The power of Mega Shark compels you!

The movie featured:

  • Former teen pop star, Debbie Deborah Gibson, as Emma, an oceanographer who first encounters the prehistoric creatures,
  • Lorenzo Lamas (best known for his roles on Falcon Crest and Renegade) as the ham-fistedly over-acted government agent-in-charge of overseeing the creatures’ destruction,
  • Vic Chao, as Seiji, the Japanese scientist seeking answers about the giant monster that appeared on his nation’s shores and
  • Sean Lawlor as Lamar, Emma’s former professor and a former submariner who got drummed out of the Navy because he believed that “every sperm (whale) is sacred” and ran his sub aground rather than sail through the pod.  (Okay, okay… it was actually dolphins, but I couldn’t have made the joke without the whales.)  Added bonus: Mr. Lawlor’s was, hands-down, the worst Irish accent I’ve ever heard… from someone born and raised in Ireland! Genius!

So, what do you get in this movie?  A giant, prehistoric shark and a giant, prehistoric octopus terrorizing the northern Asian and North American Pacific Rim.  (Duh.) You also get bad acting and cheesy special effects. And, at no extra charge, they even throw in a contrived love scene… which, of course, leads to Emma having an apostrophe epiphany as to how to lure the creatures to their doom(s).

I will also admit that I wanted to see this movie because of this one scene:

…the physics of which was explained in this infographic.

Despite all of this, the movie managed to be (hilariously) entertaining, although we should have found a way to turn it into a drinking game or MST3K-ed it. Or both.

This almost – ALMOST – makes me want to see Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, just to see the new battle of the 80’s teen pop music queens: Debbie Gibson vs. Tiffany.  There’s bound to be some comedy/horror in there somewhere…

Yesterday’s step count: 3,140

Stray Toasters