Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

Deconstruction: Phase One

everyday glory, house and home, kids No Comments »
Deconstruction: Phase One

Tuesday – 29 May 2012
To quote the late Mr. Fred Rogers: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Team DiVa was up “a little” early this morning, so the day got off to a bit of an early start.



After breakfast – both for the girls, as well as SaraRules! and myself – we played in the living room for a bit until Bonne got here. And then…

…SaraRules! (who has the day off) and I set about the business of tearing down the gazebo in our back yard. We got started about 9:30 AM and worked until about 12:30; and in that time, this is what we accomplished. It’s not completely gone, but as SaraRules! put it: “…there’s a lot less gazebo than there was this morning.” Not bad for three hours’ work.

And tonight is Guys’ Night Out. I’d call that a good way to wind up a rather productive day.


Memorial Day 2012

event, everyday glory, food for thought No Comments »
Memorial Day 2012

Monday – 28 May 2012
It is Memorial Day.

Please remember that the day is about more than sales and barbecues… or just a day off of work. Take a few moments to recall and thank the servicemen and women who fought – and have fallen – to preserve our freedom.


Team DiVa Adventures

everyday glory, kids, music 18 Comments »
Team DiVa Adventures

Friday – 25 March 2012
Today, I’m hanging out with Team DiVa:

Friday morning reading/eating time with Diana (l) and Vanessa

A few days ago, I mentioned that I would post a video of the little ladies”caught in the act” of one of their new habits… if I could catch it.

I did and here’s the video to prove it. I hereby declare that it is the cutest thing that you will see today (and possibly all weekend):

Team DiVa – Mr. Bass Man
Right-click or ctrl-click this link to download


For those who aren’t familiar with what the girls are watching, it’s this video, from The Muppet Show.

“Carve away the stone…”

comics and animation, computers, dining and cuisine, everyday glory, faith and religion, geekery, house and home, monkeys!, movies and TV, politics and law, style and fashion, The Covet List, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?!, workout No Comments »
"Carve away the stone..."

Wednesday – 23 May 2012
Midweek is upon us again. That means new comics and Movie Date Night.

It rained this morning. I’m sure that my lawn appreciates that, especially since I’m having… issues… with the two zones in my back yard. Nothing insurmountable (I hope), but a little annoying nevertheless.

Last night, for the first time in five months (according to Foursquare), I went to the gym. Yeah, I know: Five months. This morning I was a little sore. But it was good and it was worth it:

  • Elliptical: 15 minutes, 1.5 miles
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/12 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 135 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 20 lbs
  • Flys (dumbbell, bench): 3 sets/8 reps, 20 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs

Not surprisingly, my muscles were “a little” tired by the time I was done. But, I was glad that I went. And glad for a couple of ibuprofen this morning, too.

Stray Toasters


“Long live the…” Oh, I totally misread that.

business and economy, computers, dining and cuisine, everyday glory, food for thought, games, geekery, health, history, kids, LEGO and Rokenbok, monkeys!, music, science and technology, the world, travel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?!, workout No Comments »
"Long live the..." Oh, I totally misread that.

Tuesday – 22 May 2012
Today’s another sunny day in the valley.
Tomorrow, however, there’s rain in the forecast, long with a nearly 15 degree drop in temperature. Yay.

There will (hopefully) be a new Adventure Babies: Team DiVa video short in the next few days… if I can catch them doing one of their new cute habits.

Stray Toasters


“It’s already here.”

art, baseball, comics and animation, everyday glory, food for thought, games, geekery, health, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, style and fashion No Comments »
"It's already here."

Thursday – 17 May 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday in the valley. This one even came equipped with sun (with a slight chance of rain). So far, it’s been a good day… and there’s still a lot of day to go.

Last night, SaraRules! and I watched Where the Wild Things Are for Movie Date Night.

I thought that it was pretty good. I was a bit surprised in that I was expecting something… a little closer to the book, at least in some respects, but the differences didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the movie.  It was also helpful to watch one of the special feature short pieces which highlighted the collaboration of author Maurice Sendak and director Spike Jonze.

The movie is rated “PG,” but there are a few scenes that might be scary for younger children. Nevertheless, I recommend it.

Stray Toasters

That’s good for now.


It’s Tuesday, but this still isn’t Belgium.

baseball, books, comics and animation, computers, dining and cuisine, education, event, everyday glory, faith and religion, family and friends, games, geekery, kids, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, opera, politics and law, robots and AI, science and technology, space, the world, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! 3 Comments »
It's Tuesday, but this still isn't Belgium.

Tuesday – 15 May 2012
Huh.  It’s been a week since my last post. And there have been goings-on… which is to be somewhat expected, as seven days have gone by.

The biggest happening is: I resigned last week. And it was good. I’m going to miss the people. (And possibly the view from my window, but they are looking at moving fairly soon, so the view was going away anyway.)

The next biggest happening was that Sunday was Mother’s Day. More specifically, it was SaraRules!’ first chance to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother.

We had a fairly quiet morning at home, and then dropped the girls off at the in-laws’ while SaraRules! and I went to the Utah Opera performance of Of Mice and Men. It was my third American opera; I was cautiously optimistic, as I was one-and-one on American opera to this point. My optimism was rewarded. I enjoyed the performance.

And, just in case you needed more Team DiVa cuteness:

Stray Toasters



Tuesday stuff and things

books, comics and animation, cyberpunk/steampunk, dining and cuisine, education, event, everyday glory, family and friends, geekery, human of the day, kids, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, music, running, science and technology, space, style and fashion, trains/model railroads 12 Comments »
Tuesday stuff and things

Tuesday – 08 May 2012
It’s Tuesday.

Yesterday was Diana’s 8-month-birthday; today is Vanessa’s:

Vanessa (l) and Diana

Today is also my stepmother and brother’s birthday:

And, it’s also Teacher Appreciation Week.

This past weekend was a busy one. This isn’t to say that it wasn’t also fun, but it was definitely busy. I could have used another day to recuperate. Or something like that.

Friday, I had hoped to get a chance to nap while the girls were having their post-lunch siesta, but that didn’t come to pass… mostly because they didn’t take naps. So, when I went back to work, I was tired. After returning home from work, I was still tired. The evening was rather low-key, spent mostly Fringe and helping SaraRules! make superhero onesies for the twins:

She had already made the GL one, but has asked my help in getting the emblems for Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash. I thought – briefly – about trying to hand-draw them. Then I had a minor epiphany: I could use my Silhouette to cut the shapes. I downloaded images of each emblem, imported them into Silhouette Studio and did a test cut. They came out better than I had expected. So, we were ready to do the cuts on the masking paper. The picture above shows how they turned out.

Saturday, SaraRules! had brunch with her friend, Sara(NotSaraRules!), so I got to spend a couple of solo hours with Team DiVa. After SaraRules! and Sara(NotSaraRules!) returned, I got ready to head to Dr. Volt’s for Free Comic Book Day. At The Avengers premiere, I made an agreement with Dave (the owner of Dr. Volt’s) that if he came to FCBD as Dr. Who – Matt Smith version, with fez! – that I would come as Green Lantern. So, when I showed up at the store like this:

Dave gave me a bit of flak. Until I turned down the collar of my shirt to reveal the GL costume underneath:

It was the first time that I’d gone to an FCBD event dressed in a costume… let alone two costumes… but it was made even more fun and worth it, because a few kids came up to me and asked if they could have pictures with me.

And remember those superhero onesies I mentioned? Well, the twins wore them to their first Free Comic Book Day:

Sunday, we met up with the Kelly clan for a picnic at Liberty Park.

The reason: Celebrating Logan’s graduation with his Doctorate in Pharmacy.  It was a little brisk if you weren’t in the sun, but it was an otherwise excellent day. And fun.

Monday was… Monday. (As Mondays are wont to be). It included quality time with SaraRules! and Team DiVa, which is never a bad thing. It also included a couple of changes to the status quo which should yield good things.  After the girls were asleep, SaraRules! and I wound down the evening with burgers that I cooked on the grill,  TopGear and Castle.

Stray Toasters


“…and miles to go before I sleep.”

art, comics and animation, everyday glory, family and friends, food for thought, geekery, kids, LEGO and Rokenbok, movies and TV, music, science and technology No Comments »
"...and miles to go before I sleep."

Friday – 04 May 2012
“May the 4th be with you.

Today’s my working Friday.
It’s also the day that my brother-in-law, Logan, graduates with his Doctorate in Pharmacy.
It’s also the day that I got to go home and spend a couple of hours in the middle of the day with Team Diva…

Vanessa (l) and Diana

…so that Bonne and Steve could attend the graduation. Getting to take a little time off work to spend with my girls? Yeah, I have absolutely no problem with that.

Around 9:00 last night, I got a call from my friend, Jeremiah, asking if I wanted to go with the Dr Volt’s staff to see

It didn’t take much convincing, though I did check with SaraRules! to see if she’d mind me being gone until the wee hours of the morning. She didn’t. (Best. Wife. Ever.) I even broke out the Nick Fury eyepatch and black trenchcoat for the occasion. (Hey… comic book movie. Seen with comic shop guys. Do the math.)

It was a great movie. Joss Whedon did a fantastic job of bringing all the characters together and weaving a coherent and cohesive reason for them to work together. There was a LOT of action. A fair bit of wit. (Even a little smarm thrown in, for good measure.) All-in-all, it was pretty much a fanboy/fangirl’s dream team-up movie. If you enjoyed the movies that led up to this, you’ll have a blast.

Of course, I didn’t get home until after 3:30… and the girls started waking up around 7:00. So, I’ve been working to thin out the blood in my caffeinestream for most of the day. So far, so good.

|| PAUSE ||

Blackberry cobbler.

That was the second thought that crossed Jones’ mind when he saw the sign for Dalton. Sure, his first thought was an amalgamation of  “Home/Bed/Emma,” but he knew that there’d be cobbler, too. Emma always had one cooling on the kitchen counter when he came home from long trips. This one was a west coast turnaround, had him gone for a week. He swore that he could smell it already; his mouth watered.

Just a few more miles and we’re there, he thought, patting the dashboard through the steering wheel. He didn’t mind the miles. The rig had a smooth ride. The bunk in the sleeper was comfortable enough. And the people he met on the road were generally pretty decent.

Jones eased onto the off-ramp, letting of the gas. He stopped at the top of the ramp and then turned right onto Freeway Drive. Just ahead on the right was Cal’s Diner. There was almost no one on the road at this time of night, but there were still a few cars in front of Cal’s. He’d catch up with the boys tomorrow or Sunday and they could sit around, drink a few beers, and tell lies about their past week. He stopped for the flashing light at Rolling Road. He eased through the intersection. Jefferson… Barnes… McCutcheon. Almost home.

As he turned onto Clarksville Pike, the weariness of the trip started to weigh on him. By the time he got to Lake Avenue, he was ready for a shower, a slice of cobbler and bed – maybe even in that order. He parked on the street. He shut off the engine, turned off the lights and sighed heavily. He sat there for a few moments before reaching into the back to get his gear. As he got ready to climb down, he remembered to grab the gift bag sitting on the floor of the passenger seat. He climbed down, closed the door and walked around the front of the truck.

He walked across the lawn and up the sidewalk to the side porch. He fumbled through keys until he found the one for the door. He put his bag down and opened the screen door; the spring groaned a little. He’d have to look at that. Tomorrow. It would wait.

He put the key in the lock and turned the knob. He opened the door, inhaling deeply.

Blackberry cobbler. Home.

> PLAY >

Stray Toasters


The memory of you.

art, cars, computers, everyday glory, football, health, kids, movies and TV, politics and law, robots and AI, science and technology, space, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »
The memory of you.

Thursday – 03 May 2012
It’s another NBN Thursday in the valley.

This morning, Diana decided that 6:20 was a good time to wake up. She’d managed to roll herself onto her stomach again. I rolled her over and put her blanket back on her and hoped that she’d knock out for another half-hour to hour.

No go, Flight.

She played in her crib until I 6:50. (And, yes, she’d inverse-turtled herself a couple more times by then.) When I went in, Vanessa was also up; I decided to turn on their light, do their morning diaper change and start their day.

And then, I started mine.

Last night, SaraRules! and I watched Royal Wedding for our Date Night movie. I’d gotten the movie from Netflix “a while ago,” mostly because I wanted to see Astaire’s famous dance around a hotel room:

I wasn’t disappointed. For a 60-year-old effect, it was pulled off very well. And the movie itself was rather light-hearted and fun and a good way to spend the evening.

|| PAUSE ||

Mornings were always rough, not that Carl would admit it to anyone. Mornings always reminded him that she wasn’t there to share the new day with him. He looked at the other side of the bed and ran his hand over the spot where she used to lay. “Good morning, sweetheart,” he said. He swung his feet out of bed and sat up. He paused, hands on his knees, before standing up. A yawn – one that sounded more like a wild bear’s growl – forced its way to freedom.  He scratched his chin, stood and shuffled to the bathroom.

A few minutes later, Carl made his way downstairs. He stopped in front of the cluster of pictures at the bottom of the stairway. He reached up and touched the picture in the silver frame. Her picture. He smiled… and his heart ached a little. He stood there a moment before continuing on to the kitchen. He fixed a bowl of oatmeal while waiting for his coffee to brew. When breakfast was ready, he sat at the small table and ate. He looked out the window and watched as people headed to wherever they were going. Work? Home? Vacation? He shrugged. He didn’t really care. They were just going places.

After breakfast, he went back upstairs and got dressed. He didn’t have anywhere to go, but Carl had never been one to just sit around in his bedclothes all day. It just didn’t seem right. He came back downstairs and sat down in his comfy chair. He turned to look out the window, watching another little slice of the world passing by.

Adventure is out there, he thought. But not for me. Not today.

> PLAY >

Stray Toasters


8:45 (Quarter to Nine)

comics and animation, computers, education, everyday glory, games, geekery, health, movies and TV, music, The Covet List No Comments »
8:45  (Quarter to Nine)

Wednesday – 02 May 2012
‘Tis midweek once more.

Last night after dinner SaraRules! went to her book club and I hung out at home with the sleeping Team DiVa. By the time that I’d finally finished cleaning baby bottles and putting dishes in the dishwasher – after mostly chatting with friends online – SaraRules! came home. We watched the second part of the Hawaii Five-O/NCIS: Los Angeles crossover and then I played a little MW3 with a coworker.  All-in-all, a low-key evening.

|| PAUSE ||


She didn’t like being kept waiting. Yet, here she was. And here she’d been for ten minutes longer than she’d told herself that she would wait. She glanced at her watch. Again. Typical, she thought. She reached for her glass, turning it slowly on the coaster before bringing it to her lips. Five more minutes

She watched the other people in the r0om. There were a few couples, but mostly small groups. She also noted a few people obviously enjoying dinner at their company’s expense. None of her concern, really. It wasn’t her money, after all.

She glanced at the clock at the far end of the room. That’s it. She started pushing her chair back from the table as someone rushed past her in a flurry of arms, fabric and a hastily-spoken apology/excuse of some sort. She looked behind her, to see if the aisle was clear. Turning to her front, she saw that the chair across from her was no longer empty.

“Hi,” said the new arrival with a nonchalant grin. “Sorry I’m a little late.”

A little..?!  She stared back, impassive. “We agreed on 8:30.”

“True. True. But, you’re still here. And I’m here now.” He turned up the grin a little.

“Yes, you are. But, unfortunately, you are late. And I am leaving. Good night.” She stood and began to turn.

“But… Okay. Fine. I’m late.” He lowered his voice, “But, you still need someone… to get something… from somewhere.” He punctuated his statement with air quotes. A touch archaic – and definitely melodramatic – but he found himself in a playful mood. Sure this was business, but why shouldn’t he have a little fun, too?

She turned to face him. “I do. But you are no longer that someone. Once again, good night.” She walked towards the exit.

> PLAY >

Stray Toasters



books, comics and animation, computers, cyberpunk/steampunk, dining and cuisine, family and friends, geekery, kids, movies and TV, music, quote of the day, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot...?! No Comments »

Tuesday – 01 May 2012
A new month begins.
As it’s May, that means that today is May Day.
Or, if you’re Jonathan Coulton: First of May (NSFW)

It also means that it’s my friend Bret’s birthday:

Last night, SaraRules! had to work late. She was going to get home after it was time for Team DiVa to start getting ready for bed, so I asked Galadriel to come over and lend a hand. She did. And I was very grateful, especially since last night was also Adventure Baby Splash Zone bath night for the girls.

When she got home, SaraRules! fixed jambalaya for dinner. We ate and watched TopGear, Hawaii Five-O and Castle. TopGear was… TopGear, as it should be. I fortunately stumbled onto the Hawaii Five-O episode; it was the first of a two-part crossover with NCIS: Los Angeles. And the Castle episode was a zombie-themed episode, of which SaraRules! stated:

This may be the best episode of Castle ever!

It was rather fun.

|| PAUSE ||

Davis took a deep breath.  He told the others that it was just to center himself. It wasn’t. He’d been calm and focused since he entered the garage. He had to be. There was a lot riding on his part in this. He held the breath for a few seconds before exhaling slowly.

The others were talking. He wasn’t paying too much attention, but he could hear the anxiety in the new kid’s voice. Part adrenaline, part fear. Hopefully, the adrenaline would give the newbie enough of an edge to stave off her fear. On the other hand, Flynn wouldn’t have let her tag along if he didn’t think she could pull her weight.

If she’s good enough for Flynn, that’s good enough for me.

Davis closed his eyes and took another deep breath. He held it a little longer this time.

All the chatter stopped as an someone’s alarm beeped.

“Time to go,” Flynn said.

Everyone shouldered their gear and got into the van.

Davis got up, stretched and made his way over to the driver’s door. He climbed in and closed the door. He reached over his shoulders and pulled the harness down, clipping it into the buckle. He flipped switches on the dashboard and gauges flared to life. Looking over the instrument cluster, he cinched down the harness.

Check… check…check… he thought, as he looked at the readouts.

“About set here,” Davis said.

“Roll when you’re ready,” Flynn replied evenly.

Davis reached for the cable in the center console. His hand ran down the cable until he reached the jack.

Deep breath. Hold.

He plugged the jack into the port at the base of his neck. The instrument cluster gauges dimmed as images of them  painted themselves in his field of vision. He exhaled slowly…

…and the engine revved, dying down as he finished exhaling.

“We’re gone”, he said and pulled out into the night.

> PLAY >

Stray Toasters

Quote of the Day
While I promised the person that the quote would remain unattributed, I had to share this:

Concubines usually get paid.

Which as I recall, isn’t necessarily true (unless you count the whole “I’m not having you beheaded” thing), but was still amusing.