Archive for January, 2012

“Boom De Yada… Boom De Yada…”

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
"Boom De Yada... Boom De Yada..."

Tuesday – 31 January 2012
It’s the end of the month. More specifically, it’s the last Tuesday of the month. That must mean it’s time for Guys’ Night Out. Amen. The only thing that could – and did – make the day better was starting the morning with cuddles from Diana and Vanessa, as well as a kiss and a hug from SaraRules! Quadruple win.

I would also like to thank Ms. Galadriel for coming over (again) last night to help put the twins to bed while SaraRules! was at a Justice League meeting. There was no wailing, moaning or gnashing of teeth. And the twins were fine, too.

My subconscious has been drawing from my memories of 70’s and 80’s TV shows. This has become especially apparent over the past few nights’ dreams.  A few nights ago, Nicholas Hammond (probably most “known” for playing Peter Parker in CBS’ prime-time, live-action The Amazing Spider-Man) made an appearance. And last night, I had a dream sequence that was like a scene from the old Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. (Although the costume was a little wrong.) It was a little odd, but amusing, nevertheless.

And, I woke up with this running through my head:

Stray Toasters


“Ghosts appear and fade away…”

Monday, January 30th, 2012
"Ghosts appear and fade away..."

Monday – 30 January 2012
Wow. Looks like it’s been almost a week since I posted. Long time, that. So let’s get to it…

It’s been a good week. In a nutshell, it’s included:

  • Spending time with SaraRules! and the girls:

    Vanessa (l) and Diana… with Tigger and Pooh

  • Watching Real Steel with SaraRules! (It wasn’t bad; think “Rocky Meets Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots”)
  • Kicking off a new multi-month ‘Clix event series for Dr. Volt’s… (in addition to the regular tourneys)
  • Playing a fair bit of Modern Warfare 3… and a little Gears of War 3
  • Picking up a Butterfinger-dipped caramel apple (!!!)
  • Seeing Utah Opera’s performance of Rigoletto.

Yeah, It was a good week.

This week has the possibility of being quite nice, as well.

Stray Toasters


“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks…”

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
"All the other kids with the pumped up kicks..."

Wednesday – 25 January 2012
It’s the middle of the week. So far, so good.

Last night was a fairly low-key night around the household. The girls wound down a little early, but we managed to keep them awake until their normal bedtime. Even so, we managed to get a couple of pre-bedtime pics of the little ladies:

Me with Diana:

Sara with Vanessa

Groove. Boogie. Sway.
Today’s musical theme: “Songs from the Ghetto”

Stray Toasters


“It’s just a jump to the left…”

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
"It's just a jump to the left..."

Tuesday – 24 January 2012
For a day that started off grey with low clouds, it sure is sunny and bright out there. Of course, that’s a marked improvement over yesterday evening’s snow, so I’ll not complain.

Yesterday morning:

This morning:

Last night, came over. The original plan was for her to help me get the girls to bed while SaraRules! attended a Junior League meeting… but the meeting got rescheduled. So, she just came over and hung out with us, instead. She also tried to teach Diana to do The Time Warp, but it didn’t go so well. (I attribute it to the fact that the twins can’t stand yet, let alone dance.) But, I applaud her effort.

And, here’s a shot of the girls from this past weekend:

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“After the rain has fallen…”

Monday, January 23rd, 2012
"After the rain has fallen..."

Monday – 23 January 2012
It’s another day in the valley as a new work week begins.

Trying to kick the last remnants of the cold-like-thing that the girls gave me, I took some NyQuil this morning around 2:00 AM. It’s not hard to understand why I decided to forego the 6:30 alarm…

… and the 7:00 alarm.

…and the 7:10 alarm.

I finally managed to drag myself out of bed at 7:50. Fortunately, I didn’t have to be into the office early, so it wasn’t a big deal. (And I was still in the office by just after 8:30.)

The weekend, on the whole, was good. I took the girls to their second train show on Friday. It was at Thanksgiving Point. I was a little disappointed by the show; maybe it’s just because they didn’t have much in O scale that I was interested in. Maybe it was that it felt like I’d seen everything that they had to offer before. Still, it was nice to be able to attend a train show and see that the hobby is doing well.

Saturday, I judged a ‘Clix tournament for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. We had a rather decent turn-out, which was a very pleasant surprise. (It also snowed Saturday, as well. That was not as pleasant a surprise.) We had a player drop out between the second and third rounds, so I wound up playing a bye round. I threw together a team that I thought would be fun:

  • Aquaman (hey… this one does more than just talk to fish),
  • The Question,
  • Superman Beyond and
  • x-23

…and went up against a team of Lord of the Rings ‘Clix. My team did well. I hadn’t used the Aquaman figure before, but after seeing how dangerous he can be, I think that he might just become one of my new “go-to” pieces. He works well with The Question and I think that he’d be similarly effective with the LE Harvey Dent from the Arkham Asylum set. Or Psycho-Pirate. Or even an Atlantis-themed team.

Yesterday, aside from watching football, was mostly a stay-at-home and hang out with the family kind of day.

Instant Replay: Football

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
20 – 23
The Ravens traveled to Foxborough, Mass. to take on the Patriots for the AFC Championship.

It was a rough game. Both teams got off to slow and rocky starts. Then the Pats put up a field goal. Eventually, the Ravens got an FG, too. And it was game on.

The teams traded blows through the rest of the game and it looked as though Baltimore might have put the final nail in their own coffin when QB Joe Flacco threw an interception late in the fourth quarter…

…but, the Patriots couldn’t capitalize on it.

With 27 seconds left in the game, WR Lee Evans dropped what would have been a game-winning pass in the end zone. And, finally K Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal that would have tied the game, sending it into overtime.

And, with that, the Ravens season came to a screeching halt. I was understandably disappointed at the game’s end. I tried to determine which was more disappointing: Evans’ drop or Cundiff’s shanked kick. I decided that it was the dropped pass, because Cundiff has missed many clutch kicks this season — this was just another one to add on to the tally.

Oh, well, at least there’s next season to look forward to. (Until the Ravens-Raiders game, that is. My marriage may come under siege over that game.) But, I’m still proud of the way the team played all season and I’m still proud to be a Ravens fan.

Stray Toasters

Thoughts on a grey day…

Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Thoughts on a grey day...

Thursday – 19 January 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday in the valley… but it’s one without snow. Mother Nature appears to have overlooked us, at least for the moment.

Last night, the girls slept pretty well. Thankfully. Vanessa woke up for a bit at 10:30, but found her way back to sleep about 45 minutes later. Again, thankfully. Both girls were up for a 2:15-ish feeding, followed by another four hours of sleep. So, all things considered, I’d call it a “good” night.

After the girls went to sleep, SaraRules! and I watched Limitless. We had an inkling of what to expect, but I found they took a couple of turns that I didn’t see coming. I appreciated that. While it wasn’t a perfect movie, I thought that it was well-done and quite entertaining. I give it a definite “thumbs-up with an okay.”

Stray Toasters

And… done with meetings for the day. Finally.

Hand. Hand. Fingers. Thumb.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Hand. Hand. Fingers. Thumb.

Wednesday – 18 January 2012
Midweek is upon us once more. It seems as though Mother Nature has plans to introduce…

…into our weather pattern. Soon. We shall see how this plays out.

Last night was a long night for the girls. Vanessa seems to be on the downhill slope of her “cold-like thing.” She had a bit of a time falling asleep, but managed to meet Morpheus and wander through The Dreaming for a couple of good stretches. But, according to SaraRules!, Diana was up roughly every 45 minutes to an hour. Hopefully, she’ll get a better night’s sleep tonight.

Stray Toasters

Tonight is “Pasta and Movie Date Night.” I have a couple of tentative ideas for a movie, but nothing that jumps out at me. Hopefully, inspiration will hit before I get home.


Once more, from the top…

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Once more, from the top...

Tuesday – 17 January 2012
It’s Day One of the work week for me. And, it’s my short week, to boot. AND, there’s a train show on Friday. Triple score!

Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Like last year, I took the day off of work and volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. And it was good. After that, I stopped at RubySnap and picked up a few cookies before stopping in to say “Hi” to SaraRules! at work and making a couple more stops before heading home. Yes, one of those stops was The Train Shoppe. No, I didn’t get anything. (Besides, I just ordered a new switching engine online a couple of days ago.)

The girls have been a little under the weather. According to the pediatrician, they don’t have colds, but a “respiratory illness” that has the earmarks of a cold, minus the runny noses. All I know is that they’re congested and a little irritable. Hopefully, they’ll be over it soon-ish.

Instant Replay: Football

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
13 – 20
Sunday, the Ravens hosted the Ravens for the Divisional Playoffs…

…and won. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. But, it was a win. And, a little fun fact: Ravens Not Penalized For First Time Ever

Next stop: Foxoboro, MA.

Stray Toasters


“Here am I, sitting in a tin can…”

Friday, January 13th, 2012
"Here am I, sitting in a tin can..."

Friday – 13 January 2012
It’s Friday. Hallelujah! And the fact that it’s Friday the 13th? Meh. It’s my “on” Friday, but it’s quiet around the office, so I should be able to get a few things accomplished with minimal interruption. That would be a “good” thing.

It’s also Playoff Purple Friday:

Last night was a fairly quiet night around the homestead. It was bath night for little girls, both of whom took their baths without much ado. And, they even went to sleep fairly easily. Although, Diana did wake up about 12:45… which is almost an hour earlier than her norm. I am chalking it up to the fact that she – and Vanessa – seem to be a bit congested, of late and that’s making sleep a little more difficult.

After the girls went to sleep – and after dinner and an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles – I played CoD: MW3. I was able to team up with a few friends, which made it all the more fun.

Stray Toasters


Thoughts on a Thursday afternoon…

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Thoughts on a Thursday afternoon...

Thursday – 12 January 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday in the valley. There’s sun, but it’s still quite cold outside. But, my morning started out with cuddles from both girls, so I got a good kickoff to the day.

And, speaking of the little ladies, this picture was taken during last night’s “tummy time:”

Vanessa (l) and Diana
(*waits to see how long before this picture appears on my mother’s Facebook page…*)

Last night was also “Pasta and Movie Date Night” at our house. SaraRules! picked up a movie on the way home: Tangled. It was a cute – and rather fun – movie, putting a slightly different spin on the Rapunzel fairy tale.

Before bed, I read a little more of World War Z. I’m still enjoying it. After turning out the light and calling it a day, I was treated to a few hours of zombie-infested dreams. Go figure. But it wasn’t all The Walking Dead. It was more like “The Walking Dead meets Resident Evil (movies) meets S.H.I.E.L.D. meets The X-Men.” Yeah, it was that weird. Suspenseful. Action-packed. Slightly frenetic. And I think it is that combination of things that kept it from being outright scary/fear-inducing.

Stray Toasters


Middle-of-the-week musings…

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
Middle-of-the-week musings...

Wednesday – 11 January 2012
Midweek. My day started with pre-work cuddles from both of the girls. AND there shall be new comics today. AND tonight is “Pasta and Movie Night.” I’d say that this is a Wednesday full of “Win.”

Last night was another baby bath night around the homestead. It was also a 180° change from Monday night’s pre-bedtime experience. The girls, while tired, were little troopers through their baths and bedtime preparations. We’ve also stopped double-swaddling the girls and just going with the single-blanket swaddle… and (so far) it hasn’t bitten us in the ass.

After the girls went to bed – and after we ate dinner – I decided to unwind by spending a little time playing DC Universe Online. After a fairly brief patch/update, I was back in Gotham City.

I finished out a mission that I started… probably back in November. I thought about doing the final mission in that arc, but realized that I was already up a bit later than I had planned to be. So, I called it a night.

Stray Toasters


“Jack, relax… get busy with the facts.”

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
"Jack, relax... get busy with the facts."

Tuesday – 10 January 2012
Work Week: Day 2. So far, it’s been monkey-free and relatively painless. But, it is Tuesday, so there will be meetings. Hazard of the job, I guess.

Speaking of “hazards,” for some reason, I had this running through my head last night:

Last night, my sister-in-law, Sanaz, came over to help watch the girls and put them to bed while SaraRules! was at a Junior League meeting.

Under normal circumstances, bedtime is a fairly easy time of night — it’s just that two kids makes it nigh-impossible for one person to get them squared away without help. Last night, I don’t know what exactly happened, but Diana and Vanessa were not happy and wailed – at the top of their lungs –  for the better part of forty-five minutes before winding down enough to eat and go to sleep. (I don’t think that I’ve been so happy for them to go to sleep in a long time…) In thinking about it, it hasn’t been that hard to get them both to sleep in at least two months. And I can’t fathom what I would have done without Sanaz’ help.

After the girls fell asleep – which was almost immediately after they ate – Sanaz and I went into the kitchen so I could tackle the stack o’ bottles from the day. We chatted while I busted suds. I found out a bit about what she does (I know that she’s a pharmacist, but there’s more to her job than just doling out medication), what she would like to do and the world of pharmacy. It was a good conversation.

After SaraRules! got home, I found that I was restless and couldn’t decide how to spend the rest of my evening. I frittered away the better part of an hour before deciding to call it a relatively early night and just read in bed. I know I’m late to the party, but I started reading World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks. I am liking it.

Stray Toasters


Well met, Monday…

Monday, January 9th, 2012
Well met, Monday...

Monday – 09 January 2012
A new week begins. My day started with cuddles from Little Miss Diana (Vanessa was still asleep), so how could my day be bad?

I’ll get this out of the way now:

Yeah. John Fox’s Denver Broncos hosted the guys from Steeltown… and won. To sum up my thoughts on the game, I turn to a paraphrasing of the words of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury :

Nick Fury: You’ve been very busy […] you’re giving away all your stuff. You let your friend fly away with your suit playoff spot. Now, if I know better…
Tony Stark: [interrupts] You don’t know better. I didn’t give it to him. He took it.
Nick Fury: Whoa, whoa, whoa. He took it? You’re Iron Man Big Ben and he just took it? The little brother walked in there, kicked your ass and took your suit spot? Is that possible?

In this case, Nick Fury would be portrayed by Ball So Hard University’s Terrell Suggs and Tony Stark would be played by Ben Roethlisberger.

I’ve never been a huge Denver fan, but I was one yesterday. I was also glad to see that Coach Fox – formerly the head coach of the Carolina Panthers – was able to take his team to the playoffs and have a good showing.

Stray Toasters


“Another Pleasant Valley Sunday…”

Sunday, January 8th, 2012
"Another Pleasant Valley Sunday..."

Sunday – 08 January 2012
Sunday afternoon quick hit while the ladies of the house are napping…

This morning (after a not-so-great-night-of-sleep-for-the-girls), we all went out for breakfast at Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks. The girls, as usual, were little centers of attention. And with outfits like these, courtesy of their Aunt Kristen…

…how could you expect anything less? Diana has pink boots, like Vanessa’s white ones, but kicked them off before we got the picture.  Oh, well.

It’s been a good weekend, so far. Yesterday, I judged a ‘Clix tournament (with a rather good turnout) for Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection, had a RubySnap Josephine cookie, (finally) got around to watching Moon, which was:

  1. not what I expected, and
  2. very good.

…and, like sprinkles on an ice cream cone: The Texans beat the Bengals, meaning that the Ravens will face the Texans at M&T Bank Stadium next weekend. And, to be honest, I would rather face the Texans than the Bengals.

Stray Toasters

  • Go, Broncos!

    Hey, I have no great love for Tim Tebow and company, but I think that it would be uproariously funny if they beat the Steelers.  Just saying.
  • From the “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…?!” file: Lamar Smith: “If you oppose SOPA, you don’t matter”
  • I packed up two of my three train sets the other night. (Yeah, it was a bit sad…) I also packed up some of the accessories and rolling stock. All of this is in anticipation of beginning work on finishing the unfinished areas of the basement. (Although, if it doesn’t happen “soon-ish,” I may just wind up with a floor layout for a while.)

Okay, sounds like someone is waking up.  Time to go.


Hello, Friday. I’ve missed you.

Friday, January 6th, 2012
Hello, Friday. I've missed you.

Friday – 06 January 2012
Today’s my day off. I get to spend it with these cuties:



These shots were taken while the girls were having “tummy time.” (Look it up, if you’re not familiar with it.) At the moment, they’re taking a nap. I’m not sure what we’re going to do today after they wake up, but there may very well be a trip to Liberty Park involved. In fact, I’d say that I’m Ivory Soap sure that it will happen. There might also be a trip to Black Water Coffee Company in the cards, too.

 Stray Toasters

That’s it for now.