Union Pacific's Great Excursion Adventure

“…and then the morning comes.”

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"...and then the morning comes."

Saturday – 27 October 2012
First off, I’d like to thank everyone for the well-wishes on my birthday. It was nice to have so many people take a little time out of their day to say “Hi” and “We’re glad you survived another year.”

The day was very good. Sara! took the day off, so I was able to sleep in while she watched Team DiVa for a while. Later in the day, I made a trip to Dr. Volt’s to indulge my four-color print and ‘Clix habits. We went out for an early dinner at Outback Steakhouse (It’s tradition!); the girls were great the whole time we were there and Diana made friends with a little girl at the next table. Next, it was back home for cake and ice cream with a few friends:

Another fine homemade cake by Sara!

The day’s birthday gifts included:

…as well as a couple of very thoughtful gift certificates.

The evening wound down with us watching Fringe and me playing a little MW3 and reading the day’s four-color haul before bed.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

This morning, Team DiVa slept in a little… which means that Sara! and I got to sleep in a bit. After breakfast, we headed to the State Fair Park to check out the Wasatch Rails Train Show. There seem to be fewer vendors this year, but the girls had a good time watching the trains on the various layouts. I may just have to head back tomorrow and see if there’s anything that I just can’t live without…


“Life, the Universe and Everything”

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"Life, the Universe and Everything"

Friday – 26 October 2012
Not only is it Friday…

…nor is it just…

…but, as of 7:00 AM Eastern, I turn(ed) 42.

I’m not panicking and I know where my towel is. And I’d like to think that I’m a (at least somewhat) hoopy frood. Now, if I could just figure out what the Ultimate Question to which 42 is the answer is, I’d be set.

It’s been a good year. To paraphrase last year’s comment: I have a great family and friends, as well as met some new great people.

Sidenote: In case I haven’t said it recently – or enough – I’m grateful for the people in my life. Yes, this means you.

I’ve been fortunate enough to do some fun things. So, I’m ready for forty-two to bring it on.

Stray Toasters

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Test for echo

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Test for echo

Testing Google+ Integration

Team DiVa Two-for-Tuesday: 23 October 2012

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Team DiVa Two-for-Tuesday: 23 October 2012

Tuesday – 23 October 2012
Team DiVa: Relaxing…

Diana: Just a little light reading…


Vanessa, playing with LEGO


Team DiVa LEGO Tag-Team Action


Again… one ping only

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Again… One Ping Only

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Again... One Ping Only


Leg godt!

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Leg godt!

Friday – 19 October 2012
“Leg godt” is Danish for “play well.” It is also the root for the LEGO brand name.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been letting Team DiVa play with LEGO magnets that we have on our front door. Always with supervision and, thankfully, when someone decides to investigate how a LEGO brick tastes, I just have to tell them “Not for eating…” or “Put it back on the door,” and they will put it back. I don’t think that the ladies are quite ready for unsupervised LEGO play, but I think they’re pretty close to being ready for LEGO Duplo. Just saying.

Meanwhile, on another facet…

City of Heroes is shutting down at the end of next month. I’ve been trying to sort out how I feel about this for a while. Long-time readers know that I was a CoH fiend when I first started playing. So much so that my characters even had little sections of the blog dedicated to them. Yeah. It was like that.

After playing Everquest, I had worked the fantasy MMO bug out of my system. (Yes, I’ve played Diablo III, but I’ve never played – nor really had an interest in – WoW.) But, City of Heroes… that was something different. It was a game that was right up my alley: You get to create a hero – or villain, once City of Villains came out – and  set out to save (or take over) the world. Brilliant!

I created my first character, Indigo Bolt…

…and hit the ground running. Literally. Because you didn’t get “travel powers” until Level 6. That made getting across zones a bit of a pain, especially when it was big zone and full of NPCs that were many levels above you. When I hit Level 6, I got “Hover,” the flying equivalent of crawling. But, it got me out of harm’s way more than once… despite me calling it “the second-most stupid superpower ever.” Needless to say, when Level 14 came and I could select “Flight,” I did it with the quickness. And kept flying all the way up to Level 50, the game’s cap.

And through it all, I had a blast playing.

Then I started other characters. And I had fun playing them, too.

Over time…
…and as I started playing HALO and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 more…
…and as other games – like LEGO Universe and DC Universe Online came out for the PC…
…and as we had kids…

…I started playing City less. But it retained a warm, fuzzy spot in my gaming heart. Still does.

Hearing the news that it was shutting down was a little bit of a blow. Not as much as it was to some people, but it was still there: The sense that all too soon, Paragon City and The Rogue Isles were being removed from the map. Permanently.

Since the announcement, I have logged in a few times and played for nostalgia’s sake. And it’s been fun. And a little funny, as the controls for flying are reversed. So… just maybe… I’ve flown full-speed into the ground once or twice. Maybe. But, it made me laugh.

I’ll be sad to see to the sun set over Peregrine Island for the last time, but I’ve enjoyed my time in the game.

Thanks to NCSoft and Paragon Studios for many hours of fun.

And, on yet another facet…

My train room has not been used as a train room for a little over six months at this point. The lack of ability to run my railroad has begun to wear on me. Last night, I gave in and put together a little oval of the Marklin set that I got from Monica and Alessandro. And it was good. It started out as a “I should see if this runs,” as they weren’t 100% sure when they gave it to me, and turned into “I should stop. Now. So I’m not down here all night setting up a layout that has to be torn down when I paint.” And I did.

But then, I wound up looking at Marklin stuff on eBay. Go figure. Far longer – and later – than I should have.

But, I ran a train. Yes, it was a short train. But it was a train, nonetheless.


NBN Thursday Quick Hit

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NBN Thursday Quick Hit

Thursday – 18 October 2012
Here’s some Team DiVa cuteness to start your day:

Vanessa, sporting my House of Blues cap

Diana, in my Ravens cap

Last night was Movie Date Night with Sara!. We started out watching a Danish film called The Substitute, that I’d ordered from Netflix. It was… slow. And, while it wasn’t a necessarily “bad” movie, neither of us thought that it was a “good” movie, either. At least, not in the 20 or so minutes of the movie that we made it through. And I can’t figure out “why” I chose that movie… unless it was recommended, based on something else I’d seen.

So, I called an audible.

We watched 28 Weeks Later. (And, yes, we made it all the way through that.)

  • Bonus: It fulfilled Sara!’s wish to watch horror/horroresque films in October.
  • Bonus: I had completely forgotten that Idris Elba and Jeremy Renner were in the film.
  • Geek Bonus: Rose Byrne, who played ‘Scarlett’ in the film, was also Moira McTaggart in X-Men: First Class… meaning that three of the leads have been in Marvel films:
    1. Idris Elba was Heimdall in Thor
    2. Jeremy Renner was Hawkeye in Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers

I also had a crossover revelation during the film: If someone had borrowed the “Stay in the house, Carl” line from The Walking Dead TV series and told it to Andy in 28WL, there would have been two big points:

  1. It would have been a VERY short movie, because…
  2. No one would have died because of Don (Robert Carlyle’s character)…
    …because the kids would have never gone to the house to get that picture…
    …which means that they would have never found their mom…
    …who wouldn’t have kissed Don, turning him into a rage-infected monster…
    …who, in turn, infected most of the civilians (and soldiers) in the newly-reopened London.


All-in-all, it was a good flick for a date night.

And it was a good day.

Stray Toasters

  • As of Tuesday afternoon, the train room has primer on the walls. Now, I just need to figure what color I want to paint them.
  • I even managed to get some sushi – for the first time in months – yesterday.
  • Revolution – Map of North America, 15 Years After the Blackout
  • I need to remember to turn off the sprinklers this weekend.


“Beyond the rim of starlight…”

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"Beyond the rim of starlight..."

Monday – 15 October 2012
I need to convince Sara! that these would make excellent family Hallowe’en costumes:

Sisko and Dax in TOS uniforms

…and either:


(minus the ears and hairpiece)

…for Team DiVa.  (Not in red, though, because… well, you know… the whole “non-senior staff Redshirt don’t often come back from an away mission” thing.

Once more…

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Once more...


Oh, you mean click “that” button. D’oh!

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Oh, you mean click "that" button. D'oh!

Hopefully, the eleventy-seventh time is the charm.

Test III

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Test III


Test for (Google+) Echo – Part II

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Test for (Google+) Echo - Part II

This is another test to verify whether or not the new WordPress/Google+ plugin is working properly.

This is only a test.

Test for (Google+) Echo…

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Test for (Google+) Echo...

This is just a test to verify whether or not the new WordPress/Google+ plugin is working properly.

This is only a test.

Kids, Trucks, and Opera

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Kids, Trucks, and Opera

Monday – 14 October 2012
It was a good weekend…

…but let’s go back a few days. I mentioned on Thursday:

I was also informed that there’s also some good news from one of the East Coast contingents of the family. Good news is always welcome.

Well, the good news was: I’m an uncle again. My sister, Kristen, had a little girl on Thursday:

Kennadi Noelle

She was 5 lbs., 18.5 inches. Wee thing. Kennadi and Kristen are doing well and both should be going home from the hospital tomorrow (Monday).

Saturday, Sara and I took Team DiVa to the Junior League of Salt Lake City’s Touch-a-Truck event. The girls got to see – and touch and climb into – a number of trucks and buses:

Vanessa (l) and Diana, on a school bus


Later, Sara! and I attended the opening performance of Utah Opera‘s 2012-2013 season, Il Trovatore:

And, aside from being a great date night, it was also a great opportunity to wear my tuxedo:

The performance was quite good. If you live in the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area, I’d recommend seeing this opera.

Sunday was a mostly quiet day around the house, but we did manage a trip downtown to the Urban Flea Market. Later, Sara!’s parents came over for dinner. Sara! made a french onion soup, which was delicious. We weren’t sure how Team DiVa would respond to it. We shouldn’t have worried: They loved it.

Instant Replay: Football
Today, the Ravens hosted the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens
29 – 31
Tony Romo led the 2-2 Cowboys into M&T Bank Stadium… and the Ravens sent ‘em back to the Lone Star State with a loss.

Joe Flacco and the offense started out strongly, but ended their first drive with a field goal. Dallas marched down the field and scored a touchdown.

The defense got broken down like fractions by Dallas’ run offense. Fortunately, Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees figured out where the gaps in the defense were and closed them for the most part.

Possibly the game’s biggest highlight: In the Third Quarter, WR Jacoby Jones, fielded a kick-off – eight yards deep in the end zone – and ran it 108 yards for a touchdown, tying a NFL record and breaking WR David Reed’s former Raven record of 103 yards.

The game came down to a Dallas 51-yard field goal attempt… which went wide to the left.

It wasn’t a pretty win, but the Ravens still came away with the “W” and stay atop the AFC North with a 5-1 record.

Stray Toasters

And with that…