Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“Thirty days hath September…”

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"Thirty days hath September..."

Thursday – 30 September 2010
Today’s NBN Thursday is brought to you by the letters “C” and “F” and the number “2.”

I got to work this morning…

…checked my email…
…fixed a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats…

…and completely forgot that we were having a visit from our KVM over IP and power distribution reps.

The visit went well. We addressed a few issues and discovered that they might be able to help us (to a minor degree) with another problem that we’ve been having. Win-Win.

Last night, SaraRules and I watched a documentary called Babies. From the IMDB synopsis:

A look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo.

In it, director Thomas Balmes followed four babies, from just before they were born through their first steps. Unlike most documentaries, there was was no voiceover or commentary on what viewers see. You just saw the babies and their parents – and in a couple of cases, their families – in their day-to-day lives. It was an interesting look at the development  of the children – in similar and dissimilar ways – living in different cultures and under different mores.

It was good, but I’m not sure how to rate it, though.

Stray Toasters


Rob is so awesome and famous, he’s in a video. Seriously.

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Rob is so awesome and famous, he's in a video. Seriously.

SaraRules here. Rob won’t mention this, but I wanted to let everyone know that he’s a super-duper husband, and he was recruited to be in a video. He came. He conducted. He did a fabulous job! Check out the video, and send it along to your friends. 🙂

Oh, and let him know that, although he’s not Thierry Fischer good, he’s not bad.

“Bring me the girl who fell from the sky…”

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"Bring me the girl who fell from the sky..."

Wednesday – 29 September 2010
Comics and Sushi and D&D Wednesday is upon us.

Here’s a little something to get your day moving: Stevie Wonder – Superstition… as performed on Sesame Street:

Last night, after some errand-running, SaraRules and I sat down to watch Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

The story was adapted from the second story arc, “Supergirl,” in the Superman/Batman book, in which a young Kryptonian girl named Kara falls to Earth… claiming to be Superman’s cousin. Darkseid ruler of Apokalips and the film’s primary antagonist – seeks to harness the power of the young Kryptonian for his own ends. There were a few changes, but nothing that seemed to detract from the source material. The film is rated “PG-13” for language and violence… and there’s plenty of violence to be found, from Wonder Woman and Big Barda‘s fight with the Female Furies to Superman’s fight with Kara to the climactic battle with Darkseid.

Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly reprised their roles as Batman and Superman, respectively; Susan Eisenberg, who voiced Wonder Woman on the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited series, returned as the Amazon princess. Andre Braugher was brought in to voice Darkseid.  (Andre Braugher. Darkseid. Win-Win!) Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) voiced Kara.

The DVD also contained a “DC Showcase” backup featurette, starring Green Arrow. In it, Green Arrow has to protect a young princess from an assassination attempt. The piece was well-written, with a wryly witty Green Arrow. The piece also featured appearances from Merlyn, a long-time Green Arrow villain, Count Vertigo and Black Canary.

All-in-all, this was a worthy addition to the new DC Universe animation line.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap!


“Love and darkness and my sidearm…”

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"Love and darkness and my sidearm..."

Tuesday – 28 September 2010
Work Week Day 2.

Here’s a little something to get your morning moving:

Tom Brown: Funkin’ for Jamaica

Moby (ft. Gwen Stefani): Southside

Instant Replay: Football
Last night, I had a few of the guys over to watch Monday Night Football…

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
17 – 24
The Green Bay Packers traveled to Chicago to take on the Bears at Soldier Field.It was a sloppy game for the Packers. Early on, it looked like they came to play, but their zeal seemed to wane a bit as the game went on.  On the other hand, Chicago looked kind of lax early on, but dialed up the effort in the second half… just enough to come away with a late game-winning field goal.

Stray Toasters


Hello, Monday.

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Hello, Monday.

Monday – 27 September 2010
Another morning where the alarm goes off far too early…

Sunday was a good day. The day started with breakfast with SaraRules, Mary and Matt. Breakfast fare included items from Rich’s Bagels and Pin-Up Girl Espresso. After breakfast, we headed back to the house and chatted for a bit before Mary and Matt had to leave.

Then… came cleaning time. Yay. I intermittently distracted myself by checking the stats on the Bengals-Ravens game. The cleaning went well, as did the game. A little later, SaraRules and I went for a drive up Emigration Canyon — we wanted to see the fall colors. Unfortunately (for us), the leaves were still mostly green. There were hints and traces of other colors, but we’re at least a week out from full fall colors.

After dinner, we flipped back and forth between Sunday Night Football and The Amazing Race. Okay, okay, I flipped between them. It was the episode of TAR where a woman caught a watermelon… with her face:

Yes, part of the reason was schadenfreude, but I also wanted to see what happened afterward. And, as it turned out, Claire – the victim of the watermelon assault – not only continued, but she completed that portion of the challenge on the second try after being hit. She also earned the respect of a number of the competitors for the way she got hit… and went on to complete the challenge. Additionally, Brook and Claire finished the challenge in fourth place. (I have to say that Brook came off as a little high-strung — bordering on “bitchy” –to me. I realize that it’s a game/contest, but your best friend just took a melon — fired from a ballista — IN THE FACE! What about cutting her a little slack?! ) I just finished watching the “Brook and Claire” video (above); Claire referred to Brook as “…a control freak.” Bingo. Nailed it. Explains much.

I wound down the night with a Spenser book, Now and Then. I’m going to miss the comfort of these books when Mr. Parker’s last novel hits stores.

Instant Replay: Football

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
17 – 24
The Ravens’ home opener against Browns 2.0…

…unfortunately, this game wasn’t televised here.

Sorry, , wherever you may be.


Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals
23 – 24
The Raiders dropped this one to the Cards… by one point.Congrats, Marr.
Sorry, SaraRules and [info]1silver_seraph.


New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
31 – 23
Jets’ LB Jason Taylor returned to Miami to help lift his new team over his old one

This was a better match-up than I expected… even though I would have preferred that the ‘Fins take away the “W.”


Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers
20 – 7
The Owens-Ochocinco Brigade rolled into B of A Stadium…

…and rolled out with a win. BAH!

Congrats and .

Stray Toasters

Passion and Fire — Thierry Fischer’s debut as Utah Symphony’s Music Director

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Passion and Fire -- Thierry Fischer's debut as Utah Symphony's Music Director

Sunday – 26 September 2010
Last night, SaraRules and I went to Abravanel Hall to attend the debut of Thierry Fischer as the Music Director for Utah Symphony:

Last night’s program consisted of:

  • Igor Stravinsky - Fireworks, op. 4
  • Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, op. 35
  • Igor Stravinsky - The Firebird

The violin concerto was performed by guest violinist Hilary Hahn:

Photo: (c) Glenn Ross

Before the concert, Maestro Fischer talked with patrons during a lecture. Among the things he discussed were:

  • A few of his  reasons for selecting Fireworks and The Firebird as his debut pieces,
  • His reasons for changing the seating locations of some of the sections of the orchestra,
  • His ideas for having the orchestra members employ different techniques in playing their instruments,
  • Thoughts on musical education and the role and responsibility of musicians to share their craft,
  • Working with young performers in the upcoming Salute to Youth concert, and
  • Observations about having Ms. Hahn as a musical guest and the way that she and the orchestra interacted.

The lecture was followed by a brief question-and-answer session.

Fireworks, though a brief piece, nevertheless makes a bold opening statement. Mr. Fischer guided the orchestra through the four-minute piece with passion while eliciting an amazing quality of sound from the musicians.

Next, Ms. Hahn took the stage for the Violin Concerto; I was quite taken by her performance. Her attention to detail – not only to her own performance, but to that of the orchestra’s playing, as well – was remarkable.  (Mr. Fischer mentioned this quality during his lecture: He noted that she would often stop playing to listen to how the orchestra was playing and make comments or ask questions… before resuming and making adjustments to how she played.) Her acumen was phenomenal. Having the opportunity to see her perform was truly a treat.  At the end of the piece, the audience gave a standing ovation through three (3) curtain calls. Ms Hahn performed a Bach partita for solo violin as an encore. This, too, was met with thunderous applause.

After intermission, Maestro Fischer and the symphony returned to perform The Firebird. If opening with Fireworks made a statement, then closing with The Firebird was the closing punctuation – an exclamation point! Mr. Fischer conducted with passion and verve — it was very easy to tell that he enjoyed conducting the piece. The orchestra, likewise, responded with a sound unlike any other Utah Symphony performance I have attended, from pianissimo so soft that you weren’t sure that instruments were actually playing to booming  fortissimo. The overall experience – and it was truly an experience – was both moving and amazing.

After being named Music Director of the Utah Symphony, Mr. Fischer had this to say:

A new Music Director should bring new energy and a new way of looking at things. I can bring a lot to the Utah Symphony, and they will bring a lot to me. As a team we can raise our level of performing to new heights.

If last night’s performance was any indication, Utah Symphony has found an excellent match in selecting Thierry Fischer.  I look forward to watching them grow and flourish under his direction.

Hurry up and wait.

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Hurry up and wait.

Friday – 24 September 2010
It’s almost the weekend.

Last night, DM’ed a Forgotten Realms game at Hastur Hobbies.

I didn’t go.  Instead, SaraRules and I cut down a couple of trees in the front yard and then ferried the remains to neighborhood clean-up dumpsters.  Mmm, chainsaw… There are still a couple of 3-to-4-foot tall stumps to be dealt with, but the major damage has been done.  Who knows…? Our house might actually have some decent curb appeal when we’re done.

After that – and a bit to eat – it was time for the season premiere of Fringe. I daresay that this is going to be an interesting season. Next, SaraRules watched the latest episode of Project: Runway, while I finished reading the last of Wednesday’s comic haul.

Human of the Day
I know that I often tout SaraRules as being the coolest/greatest/most awesome wife. Ever. Well, quite frankly: She is. On top of everything else she does to prove it, today she (once again) brought something to me, at work, that I was too addle-brained to remember to bring with me. And, I have to admit that getting to see her once more in the morning isn’t a bad thing, either.

Stray Toasters


“From the day we arrive on the planet and, blinking, step into the sun…”

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"From the day we arrive on the planet and, blinking, step into the sun..."

Thursday – 23 September 2010
Last night SaraRules and I went to Capitol Theatre  and saw The Lion King.

Simply put: It was fantastic, from the opening number to the closing curtain. I had been told that it was an impressive production, but I fear that assessment was a gross understatement. The costuming, the staging, the performances — everything was amazing. Among the items that struck me were:

  • …the way the scenery moved — Pride Rock, the grasslands and the jungle;
  • …the birds;
  • …the cheetah;
  • …the way they portrayed the animals interacting with their environment;
  • …the use of aerials in the performance;
  • …Simba’s run with wildebeests/Mufasa’s death scene;
  • …the transition from young Simba to the older Simba;
  • …the ghost of Mufasa;
  • …the final battle between Simba and Scar;
  • ..and… and… and….

Suffice if to say that there were MANY things that I enjoyed about the performance.

If you have the opportunity to see a performance of this musical, I recommend it very highly.

Many thanks to SaraRules for getting us tickets for this.

Stray Toasters


Wednesday Things and Whatnot…

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Wednesday Things and Whatnot...

Wednesday – 22 September 2010
Middle of the week…
First day of Fall…
It’s Comics & Sushi Day…

…and SaraRules and I are going to see The Lion King tonight.

All I need to do is make it through the day.

Last night, after dinner – and a trip to the local Home Depot – I set about introducing two of the trees in our front yard to a chainsaw. The meeting went well. Unfortunately, it got dark before I could finish with the second tree… so it shall have to wait. But good progress was made.

After that, the rest of the evening was spent relaxing. A good portion of that was done with the aid of the television: 1,000 Ways to Die, the first episode of Sanford & Son, an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles and a couple episodes of Mad Men. After that, I was ready to call it a night.

One thing that I didn’t do after the tree-cutting – or didn’t do as well as I had thought – was hydrate. Sure, I had a glass (maybe even a glass-and-a-half) of water afterwards, but it was apparently far from what I needed. I woke up a couple of times with a headache. I finally bought a clue as to what might have been causing it around 0400 this morning. A pint-and-a-half of water and three ibuprofen seemed to help immensely. But, because of the poor quality of the night’s sleep, I treated myself to sleeping in this morning.

Stray Toasters


Late Lunch Musings…

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Late Lunch Musings...

Tuesday – 21 September 2010
Day 2 of the work week. Yay.

Today also would have been Jess’ 36th birthday.
Maybe Billy Joel was right:  Only the good die young.

Last night, I had a few friends over to watch Monday Night Football – New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers. I have to say that it was a far better match-up than I had anticipated. I had thought that the Saints would pretty much roll over the ‘Niners, given San Fran’s last few seasons.

No way.
Forget it.

After some early-in-the-game flubs, QB Alex Smith led an invigorated and determined team against Drew Brees and the Saints. Play on both sides of the ball was solid. I mean REALLY solid.  In the end, it came down to the Saints nailing a field goal with two seconds left in the game.

And it appears that Saints’ RB Reggie Bush broke his leg on his last play. He is expected to be out for six weeks.

Stray Toasters

Tonight, I get to do my best Paul Bunyan impression and take down at least one of the trees in the front yard.


Monday… we meet again.

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Monday... we meet again.

Monday – 20 September 2010
It’s definitely a “Monday” morning.
Following some changes to the office network on Friday, things are… a little wonky… this morning. Yay.

Today’s Musical Interlude: Living Colour – Cult of Personality:

Yesterday, SaraRules and I went to the Utah State Fair for a bit. It was a nice change of pace. A bit of oddness: As we walked past one of the bandstands, I noted that the band was playing – of all things possible – the theme from WKRP in Cincinnati. Odd. On the plus side, I picked up a package of cinnamon almonds.

Later in the evening, Logan and Swiz came over for dinner.  SaraRules fixed a chicken dish, with sides of rice pilaf and zucchini and carrots strips. Then we watched the Manning Bowl Sunday Night Football. SaraRules and I wrapped up the evening with an episode of Mad Men.

Instant Replay: Football

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
10 – 15
The Ravens traveled to Cincy to take on Batman, Robin and the rest of Marvin Lewis’ Bengals…

..and came away with a loss. Just like last season. Of course, having QB Joe Flacco throw four (4) interceptions didn’t help things, either.

This game wasn’t televised here, and I think I’m kind of glad for that.

Congrats, [info]janietrain and [info]carefreespirit.


St. Louis Rams at Oakland Raiders
14 – 16
The Raiders took down the Rams

Congrats, SaraRules and .


Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings
14 – 10
The ‘Fins took on the Vikings and came away with a win.


Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
7 – 41
In this battle of the birds, the Falcons came away with a BIG win.

Sorry, Marr.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
20 – 7
The Bucs skinned the Cats.  ‘Nuff said.

Stray Toasters

…right on to the friction of the day.


“Good evening, this is Weekend Update. I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not.”

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"Good evening, this is Weekend Update.  I'm Chevy Chase and you're not."

Sunday – 19 September 2010

Yesterday was a good day off. I didn’t get to sleep in, as we had to drop off SaraRules’ car at the shop at 0800. After that, we swung past Pin-up Girl Espresso for some morning go-juice. Back home for a bit before SaraRules headed off for quilting and I met up with Kate, Perry and the kids.  (A visit that included a trip to Toys ‘R’ Us, no less!)

Back at home, we had lunch and tried to figure out the rest of the afternoon. SaraRules had a quilt that she needed to work on, while I headed to Dr. Volt’s for the 20th Anniversary Sale and Signing.  Jake Black, Derek Hunter, Gabriel Hardman and Jeff Parker were in the store for signings and doing sketches. And Kerry Jackson and company were taping an episode of The Geekshow Podcast.  I got a chance to speak with Jake and the other creators and even wound up with a couple of sketches:

Derek Hunter’s GL John Stewart:

Jeff Parker’s Luke Cage (from The New Avengers and Thunderbolts):

Shortly after I returned home, pinged me to see if I wanted to make a quick trip to The Hobby Stop. Hm… trip to another model railroad store…? Yes, thank you.  And we were off. We both found things that piqued our interests, but we both managed to walk out empty-handed. But, we didn’t leave Utah County empty-handed, thanks to a stop at the local Krispy Kreme.

Back home to change and get ready for a night on the town with SaraRules. Last night’s entertainment was seeing Utah Symphony performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. It was a great concert.

I was up early this morning (0715) and made my way to the living room. I found Renaissance on IFC. I watched it before heading over to HGTV for an episode of Yard Crashers.  (Imagine that…)

And now, after a hearty breakfast, SaraRules and I are on the way to the Utah State Fair.


Testing, Testing… mike check… 1-2-1-2….

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Testing, Testing... mike check... 1-2-1-2....

Friday – 17 September 2010
It’s my 9/80 day off and I’ve been ready for it since Monday afternoon.
(Fortunately, Tuesday through yesterday weren’t bad.)

I think that I’ve found what I hope is only a temporary measure in getting around the problem that my web host is having with subdomains: I just changed the format of how I access and post links for this blog.  I’ll need to try and do the same for Four-Color Coverage and Game Center. Monkeys.

Last night, SaraRules and I were both having a case of the “I don’t want to cook dinner” lazies. We wound up going to MacCool’s Public House for dinner. They were having another food/beer pairing (with Wasatch Brewery, I believe).  We hadn’t RSVPed for it, but Micheal (the manager) asked us if we wanted to get in on it.  We declined. We sat at a table near the back of the restaurant. Scott, one of the owners, saw us as we walked to our table and said “Hi.”  For dinner, we started with the Finn Skins; for entrees, SaraRules had the Smoked Salmon Chowder and I had the Salmon of Knowledge. Mick, the other owner, from stopped by the table a couple of times and brought samples of the night’s pairing menu. Michael also brought over a couple of the beer samples, including a very tasty “Black and Pumpkin” variation on the traditional Black and Tan. All-in-all, it was one of the best dinner ideas that either of us could have come up with.

Stray Toasters

Time to find some trouble to get into…


“I know you’re different, you know I’m the same…”

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"I know you're different, you know I'm the same..."

Wednesday – 15 September 2010
It’s the middle of the week.
It’s the middle of the month.
And, it’s Sushi and Comics Wednesday.
Triple-score win.

Last night, SaraRules and I went to Kingsbury Hall for an event:

Mr. Lee talked about his background, his introduction to film and his reasons for wanting to get into film. He also discussed how he has used the director’s chair to make films that deal with race relations as well as other subject matter. Following his roughly hour-long talk, he did about forty minutes of Q&A. He prefaced the session by saying that he would entertain “intelligent questions, but wasn’t here to take auditions, screenplays, mix-tapes” or other “Hey, notice me!” fare. His answers to the questions seemed sincere and direct, but were also rather no-nonsense.  It was a great event and a fine way to spend the evening.

We tried a new place for sushi today: Sushi Groove. We liked it. A lot. It had a lot of things going for it: Good atmosphere, good food, and some of the former Oh Sushi staff. It was full of “Win” all around.

Stray Toasters


And then, there was Tuesday.

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And then, there was Tuesday.

Tuesday – 14 September 2010
So far, today is starting off about 16347 times better than yesterday. I’m good with that.

Yesterday did wind up being a decent day. Not too surprisingly, the day got (much) better when I left work… which I did early. I headed home to do some straightening and then ran out to pick up some snacks for the game, as I was expecting company for Monday Night Football. Nathan and Wes from work came by, as did , and Josh. It was fun.

Instant Replay: Football

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
10 – 9
The Ravens traveled to the New Meadowlands Stadium to take on Rex Ryan’s New York Jets.

The game was delayed, due to lightning, but once the kick-off rolled around, it was on.

There hasn’t traditionally been a “rivalry” between these teams, but given their history – Jet’s head coach Rex Ryan was the Ravens’ former defensive coordinator – I think that there may be a new match-up on the East Coast. For the past week, there has been a lot of trash talking and posturing… from both sides. Last night it came to a head.

The Ravens’ defense was solid, allowing only 74 passing yards and 114 yards on the ground. The offense took a little while to get into gear – the Jets were able to effectively contain the run game – but QB Joe Flacco found new WR Anquan Boldin 7 times for 110 yards (out of a total 278 passing yards). TE Todd Heap put in an impressive performance, as well, snagging 72 passing yards in 6 catches. New addition WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh also pulled in catches for 27 yards. RB Willis McGahee ran in the Ravens’ only TD.

On the other side of the ball, the Jets were…very physical, but not everyone seemed to be on the same page.  QB Mark Sanchez looked decent, but couldn’t seem to get his receivers to hold on to passes. Former San Diego Charger LaDainian Tomlinson had a couple rushes, but didn’t get a lot of yards on the ground.

The Ravens picked up twenty (20) first downs in the game, compared to the six (6) that the Jets picked up.

Penalties also played a large pat in the game: The Jets racked up 10 penalties, for 100 yards, in the first half alone. A lot of them were unnecessary, but did help the Ravens get advantageous field position.

All-in-all, it was a tight game… and far closer than I would have liked.

But, a win is a win.  Selah.

Yo, Ray..?!  There are some haters out there who say you might be too old to play or that you’ve lost a step or two. What do you have to say about that?

Mmh.  Mmh. MMH!  I know that’s right!

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
I was talking with Bill and Scott, a couple of coworkers, a little while ago. Sports came up. Then the distinction between “sports” and “games.” After a few minutes, we hit on motocross. Scott said that he didn’t consider it a sport. Bill and I both countered.  Finally, Bill made this observation:

Anything that causes snot to drip off your chin, I consider a sport.


And with that…