Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“The six o’clock alarm would never ring…”

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"The six o'clock alarm would never ring..."

Friday – 29 July 2011
It’s my 9/80 “on” Friday…

…and I am beat. Yesterday was a long day – work, doctor’s appointment and childbirth class – that stretched into the later early hours of this morning, because SaraRules! (and the kids) and I had an unexpected trip to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. Both SaraRules! and the kids are fine.

I repeat: “SaraRules! and the kids are fine.”

It turned out that she had a few sporadic contractions after a particularly long and busy day. Rather than ignore them or “hope they’d settle down on their own,” we called her doctor, who suggested that we go in to make sure that everything was alright. Our nurse, Karren, was great; she was attentive, responsive and explained all of the things that she was checking for.  She also made sure that we were as comfortable and at ease as could be. It’s just that the process – monitoring and observation – took four hours…

*headdesk*

After getting the “All clear,” we headed home. Sleep was not hard to find. And understanding that “the annoying bell-sounding-thing” was actually this morning’s alarm was, at first, a “slightly” difficult concept to grasp. But, I grabbed a frozen mocha on the way into the office, so that I could be at least nominally awake and coherent. Fortunately, the day hasn’t been to bad/busy/hectic.  And, I even got to have lunch with Tyranist and Cade.

There is most definitely a nap in my post-work future. (Or at least some time in the train room…)

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Movin’ to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches…”

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"Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches..."

Thursday – 28 July 2011
Another NBN Thursday dawns. So far, it’s sunny and clear; it would be nice if it would stay that way, but we apparently have a chance of seeing showers again this afternoon. (This is the high desert, right…?)

This morning was definitely a “Waking up and getting up has never been easy…” kind of morning. Despite that, I still managed to get into the office by 7:45. I also decided that today was a suit day: Black suit, white shirt (with Green Lantern cuff links), black loafers, green/grey/white tie and white pocket square.

It’s also going to be a rather long day, as there are both a doctor’s appointment and (the last) childbirth class on the agenda before I go home.

Last night, SaraRules! and I went out for dinner at Pawit’s Royale Thai Cuisine. (If she’s been “craving” anything during her pregnancy, it’s been a once-a-week helping of Thai food. I’m quite alright with that.) The food was good and the restaurant was surprisingly busy for a Wednesday night. After dinner, I decided to mow the lawn. It seems as though the new sprinkler heads are bringing some of the dry/dead spots back to life. I consider this a “good” thing. After a little post-mowing cool down time, we assembled one of the cribs. It went together fairly well and easily. The allen wrench that was included wasn’t of the best design; so I switched over to using my drill towards the end of things. Mmm, power tools.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Stuff and things from a Wednesday afternoon…

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Stuff and things from a Wednesday afternoon...

Wednesday – 27 July 2011
It’s the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week. It’s been a sporadically busy day. And, as it’s Wednesday, it turned out that today was, in fact, Sushi Wednesday… although I didn’t go. That’s okay. There will be others.

Last night was Guys’ Night Out. Josh, Ryan, , and and I met up at MacCool’s for beer, food and chat. Once again, we (almost) closed the place down. And it was good.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…”

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"In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight..."

Tuesday – 26 July 2011
Day two of the work week finds me down in the south 40 again. Unfortunately, I am braving it alone, as Minion #2 is on vacation this week. I shall persevere.

Last night, SaraRules! and I made a pilgrimage to the Garden of Sweden. All was well. We also decided to grab dinner at the local In-N-Out Burger. And, after we returned home, I set about migrating my MacBook from Snow Leopard to Lion. So far, it seems pretty decent. I’ll need to poke around under the hood a bit and see just how similar or different it is.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
Both of today’s items come by way of my friend, Janie. She’s found a couple of items in the news that are somewhat thought-provoking and pretty much straight out of the “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…?!” file:

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
Today’s nugget of wisdom comes from Top Gear‘s own Jeremy Clarkson:

“Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.”

Namaste.

“Boom de yada, Boom de yada…”

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"Boom de yada, Boom de yada..."

Monday – 25 July 2011
Another work week begins. Many/most of the state offices and local businesses will be closed today in celebration of Pioneer Day (which I will refrain from calling “Mormon Christmas”), which was actually yesterday… but, everyone knows that you can’t celebrate a holiday on a Sunday, especially here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain.

Today is also Lish’s birthday:

This has been a busy, but productive, weekend. The (new) guest room has been painted and the furniture has been moved to the new room. The former guest room is now in the process of becoming the nursery – baby furniture (or at least the boxes with the furniture) has been placed in the room. Many thanks to , , and Logan for their time in helping to get things situated!

SaraRules! and I also made it up to Deer Valley on Saturday evening to see Chris Botti perform with the Utah Symphony. It was a good concert and the crowd was quite receptive to Mr. Botti and his guest performers, Lisa Fischer and… a violinist whose name eludes me.

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
Today’s musical shuffle selection has been a good one for a Monday morning:

Yeah, that’s a good start for a Monday.

Stray Toasters

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Monday.

Namaste.

Hello, weekend, I’m glad you’re here.

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Hello, weekend, I'm glad you're here.

Friday – 22 July 2011
It’s my 9/80 day off. Hallelujah. Of course, I have The Leash this week, so I’m also hoping that nothing blows up over the weekend.

Last night, SaraRules! and I attended our third childbirth classes. During the second half of the class, we went on a tour of the Labor and Delivery Unit at Intermountain LDS Hospital. In addition to getting the lay of the land – and seeing a few newborns in the nursery – we also got to see a… I guess you’d call it “freshly-delivered”… placenta. Our instructor talked a bit about it and gave us a chance to look at – but not touch – it fairly closely. That freaked a few people out. (Neither SaraRules! nor I were among the squeamish.)

As a side note: While at the class, I checked in at the hospital on Foursquare…

…which crossposts to Facebook…

…which led to a series of comments on Facebook AND text messages, asking if either something was wrong or if the babies were coming early. So, I responded to those with “calm down, it’s just another class night” messages.

Then, this shows up in today’s Real Life Comics:

It made me laugh.

After sleeping in this morning, I managed to get myself out of the house and into the gym:

  • Elliptical: 15 min/1.5 miles
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps — 2 sets @ 155 lbs, 1 set @ 165 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Sit-ups (incline): 3 sets/15 reps
  • Flys (dumbbell, bench): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Tricep extensions (dumbbell, standing): 3 sets/10 reps, 40 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 sets/10 reps, 70 lbs

Not a bad way to start the day.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“When Captain America throws his mighty shield…”

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"When Captain America throws his mighty shield..."

Thursday – 21 July 2011
This NBN Technical Friday is a bright, sunny day with blue skies and no clouds.

Last night, SaraRules! and I went to a screening of Captain America: The First Avenger, thanks to Jeff and Jimmy at Big Movie Mouth-Off and about 20 of my friends, who helped me win tickets.

Where some directors might have a problem making a solid comic book adaptation or a period piece, Joe Johnston has successfully crafted a movie that works not only as a big-screen comic book movie AND a period piece, but also as a lighter World War II fare. The only thing that our screening didn’t have was the post-movie teaser clip for The Avengers. (Thank God for YouTube…)

Sidenote: I just noted that Mr. Johnston also directed a few other movies of which I am fond:

I also find it somewhat amusing that it’s been 20 years between his forays into comics-related fare.

Chris Evans did a fine job as Steve Rogers, a young man looking for a chance to serve his country, but unable to do so because of his frail constitution. When given a chance to join the military, he finds that it’s not the role he wanted or expected… but that doesn’t stop him. Nor does it keep him from becoming the soldier — not just “super-soldier” — that he hoped to be.  Stanley Tucci‘s turn as Dr. Erskine – who developed the super-soldier formula – was also quite good. He came across as a man who, like Steve Rogers, understood the difference between doing something because you can and doing something because it’s right. Hayley Atwell was a good choice for Agent Peggy Carter, the romantic interest. Most importantly, she wasn’t relegated to a “damsel in distress” role; Agent Carter was as much in the thick of things as any of her male counterparts. In a bit of a surprise to me, Tommy Lee Jones‘ Colonel Phillips was in more of the film than I expected. And I enjoyed every bit of screen time that he had. And Hugo Weaving was an excellent choice as Johann Schmidt/The Red Skull. He made a believable adversary, mixing the right amounts of ego and megalomania.

This is a fun bit of summer cinema, with a little something for everyone. The movie apparently earned its PG-13 rating for one scene —  an action/violence issue, rather than a language or nudity issue. With this movie, Marvel Entertainment – and Disney, by extension – has hit the proverbial trifecta, with respect to comic book movies this summer, in the releases of Thor, X-Men: First Class and Captain America.


(Yeah, I could have used LEGO bricks for this, but… I liked this better.)

See Also: Captain America’s cinematic comeback, from USA Today and Comics, Everybody: The History of Captain America Explained, from Comics Alliance.

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
Today’s musical oleo has included:

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“I cut so much, you thought I was a DJ…”

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"I cut so much, you thought I was a DJ..."

Wednesday – 20 July 2011
Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the first time that a man set foot on the moon (1, 2) .

As taken from the Purdue University Facebook page:

Today in history: On July 20, 1969, Purdue graduate and astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. That one small step has been inspiring Boilermakers and the rest of the world ever since!

That’s right, a Boilermaker did that.

Last night was D&D 3.5 game night with and company. It was a good session. We encountered an odd group of people at a desert oasis. They were – or at least seemed – friendly enough. And they were… helpful… in that they helped us find a city that we were seeking. And by “helped us find” I mean,”they gated us to the city, which turned out to be of the ‘long-lost’ and ‘floating-in-the-air’ variety. And that’s where we’re picking up next time.

I considered hitting the gym after gaming, but as it was late (after 2300) and I had an early – and long – day on the agenda for today, I opted out. Today is rather full with: A doctor’s appointment (for the twins) this morning and a screening of Captain America this evening… oh, yeah, there’s work on both sides of that doctor’s appointment, too.

::: break for appointment :::

Post-appointment update: SaraRules! and both kids are fine. (And her doctor won’t let her go past 38 weeks.)

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
This morning’s music selection has been varied and quite good:

Not a bad way to kick off a Wednesday, at all.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Everything’s heavy underground…”

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"Everything's heavy underground..."

Tuesday – 19 July 2011
Day Two of Four… fortunately, there’s coffee.

And it’s game night. And, there may even be a trip to the gym on this evening’s agenda.

Last night, Operation: Paint Guest Room went into effect. Ms. and Logan came over to lend a hand. We banged out the whole thing – from taping to finishing (minus door trim) – in under two hours. There are a couple of small areas that need a slight touch-up, but the proverbial “heavy lifting” is done. And, with the painting out of the way, the guest room furniture can now be moved so that the cribs and other baby furniture can go into the nursery.

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
The Tuesday morning music mix started slow, but geared up fairly quickly:

Stray Toasters

“I can’t stop thinking big…”

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"I can't stop thinking big..."

Monday – 18 July 2011
A new work week dawns in the valley with clouds and a forecast of rain and/or thunderstorms. But, it doesn’t appear as though the rain will alleviate the high temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Fortunately, there’s air conditioning technology to keep us cool.

The weekend was a good and, though brief, enjoyable one. I even managed to drag myself to the gym Saturday morning. I got out of the house a little later than I had planned, but still got in a brief workout:

  • Elliptical: 15 min, 1.41 mi. (approx. 5.7 MPH avg.)
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 155 lbs
  • Sit-ups: 3 sets/15 reps
  • Curls (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 25 lbs
  • Flys: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs

From there, it was back home for a quick shower and change of clothes and then on to meet Chris, Alex and Harley for pre-tournament breakfast. The tournament was good; there were ten participants. It was also one of the closer events we’ve had: less than fifteen (15) points separated first and third places.

Later in the evening, SaraRules! and I headed over to shockpuppet and ‘s house for a reception for and his fiancee, Erica. It was a nice gathering. We also found the oft-mentioned “fairy path” that shockpuppet created — although, at the time of night we saw it, it was more “creepy, dark, wooded path” than “fairy path.”

Sunday was planned to be rather laid back. Instead, it started off with a bit of automotive stress: I ran out to get bagels and some milk for breakfast. The bagel stop was fine; however, as I was attempting to leave The Store, the car decided not to start. *sigh* I gave it a minute and tried again. Nothing. I called SaraRules! and had her come to jumpstart the car. No go, Flight.

::: grblsnrkx :::

So, the tow truck was called. And off to the local Pep Boys we went… because, apparently, my Sunday mornings are not complete without a trip to Pep Boys. Turned out that it battery was dead. I had them check the alternator and starter — both of which were fine after testing. And, thanks to being a member of Pep Boys Rewards, the towing was half-off and the battery was covered under warranty. So, the out-of-pocket cost was FAR less than it could have been. I’m just not sure whether it’s a good or a bad thing that I’m getting to know some of the techs there on a first name basis…

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
The Monday morning musical shuffle selection wasn’t bad this morning:

Not a bad way to kick off the work week, I’d say.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
Muslim hate crime victim asks TX court to spare life of white supremacist who shot him
Wow. Seriously… “Wow.” How many of us could – or would – do the same in Mr. Bhuiyan’s position?

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done…”

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"Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done..."

Friday – 15 July 2011
Another 9/80 “on” Friday in the valley. I’m in the office, with a frozen mocha, a couple of doughnuts and Weapon of Choice on iTunes. I’m at work, but it doesn’t totally suck… and I’m okay with that.

Last night, SaraRules! and I had another childbirth class. One of the things we learned about was breathing techniques. I was (somewhat) able to control my laughter when this came up, because I couldn’t get Bill Cosby’s routine about childbirth out of my head:

There was another part of the class where our instructor talked about methods to help induce labor. At one point she said “Jumping on a tramp.”  Logically, I know that she meant “jumping on a trampoline,” but in my head I got a F*ck Yeah Headlines-like image of a pregnant woman jumping up and down on the back of a vagrant. Again, I managed to stifle (most of) my laughter.

After we got home, SaraRules! and I also started filling out some sections of the babies’… er… baby books. We went with the Guess How Much I Love You: My Baby Book for both kids. We are jointly filling in pages, so there’s uniformity between the books.

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
This morning’s musical selections have been good:

Well done, iTunes. Well done indeed.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“There’s no bread… Let them eat cake!”

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"There's no bread... Let them eat cake!"

Thursday – 14 July 2011
Today is Bastille Day.

Last night was the release event for WizKids!’ Captain America HeroClix set. One of the nice things about release nights: I don’t have to judge the events, so I just get to play. (This isn’t to say that I don’t get asked rules questions, however… but I’m not the event judge, so I’m not constantly doing my best impression of the Shell Answer Man.) It was a 300-point sealed draft: Pick your team, up to 300 points, from two (2) booster boxes. I got obliterated in the first round, only picking off one of my opponent’s figures… for a whopping 57 points. The second round, my dice apparently woke up; I cleared my opponent’s team and didn’t lose anyone. In the third round, it came down to one figure for each of us… and I wound up on the losing side of the beatdown.  (Although, I was apparently “only” one click away from taking out Nick Fury.) All-in-all, I had a good time.

Today, as SaraRules! just pointed out to me, is going to be a long day: I was up and out of the house before 0700 this morning… and I won’t be done with the day until 2100 or so tonight, thanks to our childbirthing class. Good thing I stopped for a cup of frozen mocha motivation on the way in.

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
This morning’s iTunes bit o’ random play included:

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Mr. Telephone Man, there’s something wrong with my line…”

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"Mr. Telephone Man, there's something wrong with my line..."

Wednesday – 13 July 2011
Two down, one in the chamber, and two to go. It’s Wednesday, which is a good thing unto itself – being the middle of the week, new comics day and possibly Sushi Wednesday – but tonight gets an added kick as WizKids’ new Captain America ‘Clix set hits shelves today.

And… Dr. Volt’s is having a release night tournament (that I am not judging), so I can get in some playing time. Win-Win.

Last night saw a little bit of adventure. My phone decided to have a slight memory lapse. I had decided to reboot it, as I hadn’t fully shut it down in a few days. It restarted… hit the Sprint splash screen… and restarted. Again. It powered up, hit the Sprint screen and restarted. Again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

*grblsnrkx*

I pulled the battery for a minute, thinking that removing power might allow it to recover. No go, Flight. Boot. Splash screen. Reboot. *sigh* I tried removing the battery again and left it out for about thirty minutes. Nothing.

::: braincramp :::

So, off to the Sprint Store!  SaraRules! and I walked in; I  told the associate at the Welcome stand what was going on just as (whom I assume was) the manager walked up and said that they weren’t taking any new customers tonight, as their tech already had too many phones to work on for the night… but that I was welcome to leave it and/or come back tomorrow. (To her credit, the associate at the stand looked rather apologetic for her boss’ somewhat curt manner.)

So, we left.

I decided to roll the dice and see if the Sprint Store on Highland could bring some relief. We walked in and explained to Chris, the associate on duty, what was going on – or, more aptly “not going on” – with the phone. He installed the battery, saw the reboot cycle and suggested a hard reboot. He warned that I’d lose my apps, but that my contacts, pictures and music should be fine. I told him to go for it. And he did…

…and a couple of minutes later, I had a phone again. Just. Like. That. I asked him if he could show me the steps to initiate a hard reset – and he did – and then we were on our way.

As I was opening SaraRules! car door, a bird pooped on my hand. I doubt that WWII bombadiers could have hit a target with more accuracy. (I would have said Luke Skywalker, but he had The Force, so that’s a little like cheating in this case.) It was repulsive and hilarious at the same time. I walked back into the store. Chris asked what had happened, thinking that the phone had gone schizo again. I told him and asked if they had a restroom. Laughing, he pointed me towards it. One thorough hand-washing later, I was on my way… again… and ready to take on the rest of the evening, which was comparatively uneventful.

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
This morning’s iTunes musical selections have been good. They’ve included:

Chew on This: Food for Thought
It seems as though many people are up in arms about the impending Netflix price increase.  Seriously?!  They’re changing their business model – which companies do all the time – to stay competitive.

And profitable.
(Did you catch that whole “business” part of the equation?)

The pricing structure appears to be based on the way that people use their service: DVD or streaming media. And from what I can see, the new pricing ain’t all that bad. And, if you want to combine them, for the best of both worlds, you pay a little more.

And if you don’t like it?  Stop. Using. Netflix.  It’s really that simple.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Drove downtown in the rain, 9:30 on a Tuesday night…”

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"Drove downtown in the rain, 9:30 on a Tuesday night..."

Tuesday – 12 July 2011
Yesterday was the world’s longest Monday ever. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it was long. I think that was mostly due partially to the fact that I split my day to go to a doctor’s appointment with SaraRules! (She and both kids are doing well, by the way.) While I was out, I made a few stops:

  • The Train Shoppe (What?!  I was downtown already.  Don’t judge me!)
  • 7-Eleven, to partake in 7-11 Free Slurpee Day, and
  • RubySnap, to pick up a few cookies.  Tami, RubySnap’s owner and Director of Appetites, also introduced me to Nina, their Coffee Toffee cookie, topped with chocolate and a brazil nut:

I also made a quick stop at home before making it back to the office, where the clock taunted me for the next… six… hours…

After work, SaraRules! and I went to dinner at Pawit’s Royale Thai Cuisine. We ran a couple of errands – including failed stops at local 7-Elevens to partake of more free Slurpee goodness – before heading home for a lazy night watching Top Gear.

Before bed, I decided to do some sit-ups. My abs still hurt from Friday’s workout. Feh.

Today is also the birthday of my friends: Jake, Natalie and Paul:

This morning’s iTunes musical oleo included:

I consider that another good musical start to the day.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“What I’ve succombed to is making me numb…”

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"What I've succombed to is making me numb..."

Monday – 11 July 2011
Despite the way I wrote it above it’s 7/11, which means “Free 7.11 ounce Slurpees at 7-11” Day! How’s that for a good way to kick off your week?!

Yesterday was a relatively lazy day. Of course, after starting Saturday very early in the morning and participating in a 5K, some might say that”lazy” is a subjective term. Well, in this case, it was less “subjective” and more “objective,” by far. There was sleeping in. There was lounging on the sofa. There was more lounging and lazing about. There was dinner (Teriyaki chicken, rice, sauteed vegetables) and a movie (Sucker Punch) with the in-laws, which was followed by… you guessed it: More lounging about on the couch, once we got home.

I got into the office a little early this morning, which means that I got to start the morning, um… somewhat loudly… with tracks that included:

  • Rush – The Spirit of Radio
  • Guy – Teddy’s Jam
  • Jimi Hendrix – Fire

Yeah, that’s a start to the Monday morning that didn’t totally suck.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.